At about this time, John was one of the founders of the Vancouver Society for Early Music (now Early Music Vancouver), which over the following decades brought early-music performance and teaching to prominence in Vancouver. John not only directed and/or performed in many of the Society’s locally-produced concerts, but also served on the Artistic Committee and Board for years. He volunteered a vast amount of time, attending countless meetings, sending out mailings, and participating in various money-raising tasks, such as selling raffle tickets in shopping malls, or — believe it or not — invigilating at casinos. (A “charity” such as the VSEM would supply volunteers for a night in a casino, and in return would be given some of the money taken in.)
John was also involved with the annual Early Music & Dance Workshop co-sponsored by the VSEM and the UBC School of Music each summer, co-directing it several times, and — for many years — teaching viol students, coaching ensembles and performing in the faculty concerts. Even after he stepped down from participation in the workshops, John continued to act as liaison between the VSEM and UBC Music, and the summer Early Music Program’s ongoing success was secured. In the early years, although the workshops were fun for the teachers as well as for students, they were exhausting, as we faculty members did much of the organizing as well as giving lessons, coaching ensembles, rehearsing and performing. Every day we would aim to finish teaching by 5:00 pm on the dot, so that we could rush over to the Faculty Club and have drinks in the luxurious Lounge with its fabulous view, and happen to be on hand when free appetizers were circulated at just that time. An annual perk, much appreciated.
As has been said by others, John put early music on the map at UBC by establishing the Collegium Musicum as a small-ensemble option. Before its inception, students could take lessons on early instruments (yes, millennials, there was a time when most Music students took secondary instruments as a matter of course), but there were no early-music ensembles given for credit. Collegium was invariably well-enrolled by John’s viol students, by wind players and by select singers, and John worked very hard to involve violinists and cellists as well. Some years there would be a solid core of students learning to play Baroque stringed instruments, but other years they would be sparse. He must have been thrilled when a couple of years ago the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship program was established at UBC, with the aid of Early Music Vancouver, as part of Early Music Ensembles (formerly Collegium). This would have been a dream come true for him.
I believe I owe my years of teaching at UBC to John, as he notified me when the sessional position for harpsichord instructor became available in 1979, and encouraged me to apply. From that time until his retirement in 2002, John and I were colleagues in the School of Music as well as friends. We were also fellow-performers in many concerts over the decades, usually in chamber-music ensembles of various sizes, and as founding members of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra. John was that rare bird, a musicologist who also performs, and it is greatly to his credit that he was able to devote himself so well to both disciplines.
It has been a pleasure knowing John and Elaine over the years: enjoying many memorable parties and fabulous dinners at their home; relaxing, hiking, eating royally at their Mt. Baker “cabin;” watching their three bright, beautiful daughters grow up; going for walks with whichever faithful dog they owned at any given time. John’s impact on early music in Vancouver, and at UBC in particular, is undeniable; his legacy as a teacher, performer, musicologist and editor is stellar. Perhaps less well-known was his devotion to his family, his wry sense of humour, and his hilarious ability to unwind at parties, all of which provided his many friends with countless priceless memories.
He will be greatly missed.
– Doreen Oke (BMus'68), harpsichordist and former instructor, UBC School of Music