Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Conductor Founded Santa Fe Desert Chorale in 1982
Journal Staff Report
Lawrence “Larry” Bandfield, the artistic director who founded Santa Fe Desert Chorale in the early 1980s, has died, the professional ensemble announced.
The 75-year-old Walnut Creek, Calif., resident died at his home Sunday.
“We mourn the loss of a beloved man whose dedication and determination to bringing the highest quality professional choral music to Santa Fe was inspirational, realizing a dream that has enriched the musical life of Santa Fe over many years,” Santa Fe Desert Chorale General Director Don Scott Carpenter said in a statement. “The Desert Chorale's Summer Festival 2009 will be dedicated to his memory.”
Bandfield was president of Toledo, Ohio-based Cameo Inc., a family-owned cosmetic products distributor, before retiring in the mid-1970s, according to previous news stories.
He then devoted time to conducting. He founded four choirs and earned an advanced conducting degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, Bandfield had graduated from Oberlin College in 1955.
“Bandfield chose Santa Fe as the site of a new choral enterprise because the city's reputation for art and music will assure visibility and help him recruit some 30 singers from New Mexico and the Southwest,” a 1982 Journal story reads.
“Many of the singers will be teachers and graduate students of voice,” Bandfield said in the story. “I hope to locate New Mexico's best musicians.”
Bandfield said the formation of Santa Fe Desert Chorale was part of a “quiet revolution” going on in the American classical music scene, which included the rise of professional choral groups, another news story at the time reads.
“Our theory is that choral music isn't just for Christmas any more,” Bandfield said.
Santa Fe Desert Chorale was founded in 1982, and the summer professional choral festival debuted a year later, “bringing the finest singers from around the United States to Santa Fe.”
“(Bandfield) led the Desert Chorale in summer and then winter seasons until 1998,” according to the group. “He remained committed and interested in the Desert Chorale until the time of his death, meeting as recently as last weekend with Carpenter and the Chorale's new music director Joshua Habermann at the Chorale's San Francisco auditions.”
Bandfield lived in Santa Fe from 1981 until 2005.
A memorial service in Santa Fe is being planned for the summer.