GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE                                                                 Tuesday, May 14, 2002

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 Maurice Skones

  TURNER -- Turner native Maurice Skones, 75, a retired music professor, died May 2 in Tucson, Ariz., of cancer.

  Memorial services are 3 p.m. today at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Tucson. Cremation has taken place. Forest Lawn Funeral Home of Tucson is handling the arrangements.

  A full obituary will appear at a later date.

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GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE                                                                 Wednesday, May 22, 2002

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 Maurice M. Skones

 

  TUCSON, Ariz. -- Professor emeritus Maurice M. Skones, 75, an internationally recognized choral director and music educator who began his teaching career in Cut Bank, died of cancer May 2 at his home in Tucson, Ariz.

  Services took place May 14 in Tucson.

  Survivors include his wife, Patricia; children Paul Skones of Portland, Ore., Karen Denmark of Renton, Wash., and Janet Hitt Irons of Everett, Wash.; sisters Alice Brownfield of Worden and Leona Larson of Shelby; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

  Additional survivors include sons-in-law Edward Denmark of Renton and Mike Irons of Everett; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

  Skones was born July 24, 1926, in Havre, and graduated from Turner High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Concordia College at Moorhead, Minn. He began his teaching career in Cut Bank, teaching band and classroom music. He soon built a choral program, and in 1952, his high school choir was selected to perform at the Music Educators National Conference in Philadelphia.

  After receiving his graduate degree from the University of Montana and the University of Arizona, Skones taught at Adams State University in Colorado from 1957 until 1964. He then was chairman of Pacific Lutheran University Department of Music in Tacoma, Wash., where he developed an international reputation as conductor of the Choir of the West. The choir's tours covered most of the lower 48 states, including performances in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Town Hall, New York, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, and many others. Two European tours in 1970 and 1977 were highlighted by a performance for the King of Norway in Oslo.

  Composer Miklos Rozsa sought out the Choir of the West to sing the world premiere of "To Everything There is a Season" and the 23rd Psalm in a concert of his music. Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki came to PLU to assist the choir in a performance of his monumental "Saint Luke Passion" while Skones was at Pacific Lutheran University.

  Dr. Skones joined the University of Arizona School of Music and Dance in 1982 as a visiting professor, and became the Director of Choral Activities in 1983. He retired in 1992, and in 1997, he returned to the University for three more years.

  Following his second retirement, he remained active as a guest conductor and as an adjudicator for choral festivals in the U.S. and Canada. He continued to use his talents to the glory of God as director of Our Savior's Lutheran Church Chancel Choir until one month prior to his death.

He served as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician for more than 200 music festivals. Dr. Skones had been mentor to scores of active college, university, secondary and church choral directors throughout North America. He was recognized as an eminent conductor and teacher. During his 54 years in the profession, his choirs achieved international acclaim for many outstanding performances in America and abroad.

  Memorials may be donated to Choral Development Ministries of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Tucson; the Dr. Maurice and Mrs. Patricia Skones Vocal Scholarship Fund at Pacific Lutheran University; TMC Hospice in Tucson; or cancer research.

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