Former choral director, singer remembered

Cody Luk
Staff Writer

Bruce Hirsch, former choral director at the University of La Verne for 13 years, died Nov. 5.

In 1981, Mr. Hirsch moved to La Verne after leaving Juniata College in Pennsylvania, where he and his wife, Marge, established a successful choral music program.

Mr. Hirsch was the choral director from 1984 to 1997. He was also the Church of the Brethren music director and chair of the music department for several years.

“Professor Hirsch was a wonderful colleague who could always be found in his office developing his concert series or talking with students,” Kathleen Lamkin, professor of music, said.

“He will be especially remembered for his wonderful major concerts in addition to the festive winter seasonal concerts, which offered a variety of musical styles,” she said.

Mr. Hirsch presented many concerts in the Church of the Brethren, including Felix Mendels­sohn’s “Elijah,” Carl Orff’’s “Carmina Burana” and Guiseppe Verdi’s “Requiem.”

He also took his choir groups on tour to San Francisco, Seattle and Arizona during January interterm.

Other concerts and performances included Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Medium,” “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and many more.

“These are all very difficult works and his successes with these works were highly regarded,” Lamkin said. “His expertise in choral music, opera and at the American musical contributed to outstanding performances on our campus and within the community at large.”

Many of pianos, wind and brass instruments on campus were purchased by Mr. Hirsch, who also set up the piano labs.

He also catalogued the choral library for the choral program.

In addition to being an educator, Mr. Hirsch was also a bass-baritone singer.

“Bruce Hirsch will be remembered for his collegial work, his interest and support of students, his enrichment of the music program and his contributions through his masterful music making,” Lamkin said. “He was praised for his musicianship and high musical standards. We were most fortunate to have had him at the University of La Verne for 13 years.”

Gary Colby, professor of photography, knew Mr. Hirsch from working with him the University. He attended many performances and shows Mr. Hirsch produced.

“He embodied La Verne’s values, born out of the tradition of artists to express themselves,” Colby said. “I know him and his wife and they’re genuinely joyful people that enjoyed life. He was a kindly person, (with a) good sense of humor. I enjoyed his company. He was a fine colleague.”

“Let us reflect on… Mr. Hirsch’s services to the University of La Verne and continue to be thankful for the positive effects (he) had on our campus,” President Devorah Lieberman said in a community announcement press release last week.

Mr. Hirsch is survived by his wife, Marge, and their children Tanya and Leo.

Memorial services are to be determined with further information to come.

Cody Luk can be reached at cody.luk@laverne.edu.

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