In Memorium of John Kurtz

 
It is with deep sympathy that we share the news that our Director Emeritus, John Kurtz, passed away on December 10, 2014. He had a passion for music and the Warren Civic Chorus lived on because of his caring contributions. We know that he also personally meant so much to many of the members of the Warren Civic Chorus. He will be greatly missed.
 
John’s memorial service was held on December 28, 2014, 2 p.m., at Central Christian Church in Warren. Read the full obituary at:
www.mcfarlandcares.com.

 
 

 

 

Appreciation Day for John Kurtz

On December 22, 2010, several members of the Warren Civic Chorus were on hand to watch the Mayor of Warren, Michael J. O'Brien, present John Kurtz with a Certificate of Appreciation in a surprise ceremony at John's downtown office. John was honored for his nearly 40 years as Director of the Warren Civic Chorus, and for re-establishing the Holiday tradition of singing George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" in Warren. Along with the Certificate of Appreciation, he was presented with a poster-size photo of the 2010 Warren Civic Chorus, and everyone enjoyed a piece of cake decorated for the occasion.
 
Below is a write-up in John's honor, and at the bottom of the page is a copy of his Certificate of Appreciation, which was signed by Bob Kraynak on behalf of the members of the Warren Civic Chorus, and Mayor Michael J. O'Brien, and the news clip from Channel 27, WKBN. Channel 21 also aired a news spot on their evening news, but the clip is not currently available.

One of the Holiday Season's most inspirational celebrations is the performance of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah." Written in just a month's time in 1742, the music is now one of the most widely-recognized musical compositions in the world.
 
The first local presentation of "Messiah" was in 1956, sponsored by Warren's Dana School of Music in the Turner Junior High School auditorium. The performance was delayed by a half hour because of a snow storm. The Director for that first performance was Don Fernandez, the Director of Music for Leavittsburg High School. This was the founding of the Warren Civic Chorus.
 
The Warren Civic Chorus has presented "Messiah" nearly every year since then. There have been a few exceptions. Moving of the Dana institute to Youngstown State University interrupted this tradition. The Warren Civic Chorus took up the banner of presenting "Messiah" several times in the early 1960's but couldn't continue for financial reasons.
 
One of the members of the Chorus for that first performance was John Kurtz, who played the piano. John participated in the Chorus each year it performed over the next decade, and finally, with the support of many local singers, John led the effort to restore "Messiah" tradition in 1973 and has been directing the performance since then, now 37 years. Over this span, "Messiah" has been presented at the Warren G. Harding High School, the North-Mar Church, Christ Episcopal Church and other Warren locations. For at least the past ten years, The Church of The Blessed Sacrament has graciously given their church facility for rehearsals and performances.
 
John has provided not only the front-man direction of the Chorus, but has also personally financially supported the Chorus in more difficult times in order to sustain the tradition. He has been an unselfish leader to the Warren Civic Chorus, and is dedicated to bringing an inspiring performance to attendees of the Chorus' presentation of "Messiah."
 
This past year has been exceptionally challenging for John, who underwent double knee-replacement surgery only a few short weeks before rehearsals began in October. It may have taken him a little longer to get up and down from the podium, but the enthusiasm and emotion of this director were reflected in the voices of the nearly 100-member Chorus. The camaraderie among the members and the Choir Director creates a joy which shines through the beautiful music that George Frideric Handel composed. It has been enjoyed by thousands of people in the Warren area.
 
We thank John Kurtz today for his dedication, leadership, and direction of the Warren Civic Chorus over the past four decades, and look forward to continuing the tradition that John restored in Warren, Ohio, for many years to come.
 


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video provided by WKBN TV27, Youngstown, OH

 
 
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