"Look around this room," said Samuel Griffin, president of the male singing group the Orpheus Club of Philadelphia. "We are Bruce's children, we will carry on what he did . he will be there everywhere we are."
Bruce Montgomery's impact on the Penn community as the school's longtime director of musical activities was the theme his memorial service yesterday.
Montgomery, who directed a variety of Penn performing arts groups during his 45-year tenure at the University, passed away this June, the day after his 81st birthday.
At times light-hearted, poignant and deeply emotional, friends, family and former students filled Irvine auditorium to memorialize the man they all knew as "Monty" with music and fond remembrances of a life lived to the fullest.
During his time at the University, Montgomery directed Mask and Wig, the Penn Players, the Penn Band and both directed and founded the Penn Singers.
His great love, however, was the Penn Glee Club, of which he was acting director until his retirement in 2000.
In remembrance, each member of the Glee Club wore one of Montgomery's once ubiquitous bow ties.
"He always had time for so many people in so many different ways" said Montgomery's sister, Constance Montgomery Cook.
Dawn Lanzalotti O'Croinin, who graduated from the College in 1996 and was a member of the Penn Singers as well as the first female on the Glee Club board, added that "all of us have enjoyed Monty's friendship and counsel over the years."
This friendship and counsel was celebrated in a memorial marked by alternating personal anecdotes and musical numbers from the numerous shows Montgomery directed -- including songs from Gilbert and Sullivan shows and pieces Montgomery either personally arranged or wrote himself. Each was sung by an alumnus or current student.
College senior Shane Valenzi, artistic director of the Penn Singers, is one of the last current students to have worked with Montgomery closely. Aside from participating in the memorial service, Valenzi mentioned that the Penn Singers would dedicate their Fall show, Crazy for You, to their former director.
"We wanted to do a show that was fun and upbeat because that's what he was," Valenzi said, adding that he considered Montgomery "an educator, a mentor and a friend."
Ty Furman, director of Platt Student Performing Arts House, agreed.
"His impact on everyone, particularly at Penn, will go on forever," he said at the beginning of the memorial service.
As the Glee Club toasted Montgomery one last time and sang "Walk Him Up The Stairs" from the show Purlie, a song commonly known as the Glee Club's "calling card," friends recalled his parting words written in his 2000 resignation letter.
"No one" he wrote, "has enjoyed their life's work more than I have."Comments powered by Disqus
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