Frank Torbet Lendrim

Frank Torbet Lendrim, a former member of the Kenyon faculty who was a professor emeritus of music at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, died of cancer on July 19, 2003, in Rockport, Maine. He was seventy-five years old.

Lendrim took his early musical training as a chorister of St. Paul's Boys Choir in Paterson, New Jersey. While still in high school, he studied at the Guilmant Organ School and at the Juilliard School of Music. Lendrim earned his undergraduate degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory, a bachelor's in music in 1950 and a second bachelor's in music education in 1951. From 1952 to 1954, he served in the U.S. Army.

Following his military service, Lendrim entered graduate school at the University of Michigan, where he earned his doctorate in 1961. That same year, he joined Paul Schwartz to make music a two-person department and began his thirteen years of teaching at Kenyon. Lendrim served on several occasions as chair of the music department, directed the choral music program, and took on the duties of College and Harcourt Parish organist. He also taught music at Bexley Hall Seminary. Among the current members of the Gambier community who sang under Lendrim's direction during their student days at Kenyon are Jordan Professor of Environmental Science and Biology E. Raymond Heithaus '68, Director of Capital Funds J. Thomas Lockard '67, and Dean of Students Donald J. Omahan '70.

Lendrim, who won several Ford Foundation grants for the study of sacred and vocal music during his years at the College, traveled with his choirs on a regular basis. He accompanied the Chasers when they were selected to sing at the Montreal World's Fair, Expo 67, and he led European tours of both the Chapel Choir and the Kenyon Singers. Lendrim also established a choral-music tradition for the College's women, beginning in 1969 with a program for them that was parallel to the men's and later integrating the groups. In 1972, he conducted Kenyon students in a joint concert at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

"The beginnings of the College's outstanding choral tradition can be traced to Frank T.'s tenure in Gambier," says Lockard. "As director of the Chapel Choir and the Kenyon Singers, he always exhibited solid musicianship, an infectious exuberance for his task, and seemingly infinite patience with vocalists who sometimes lacked any innate ability. Frank T. was a willing mentor to all who sought his guidance and a good friend to those of us who kept in touch with him over the years. There are as many stories about him as there are students who knew him. Those memories will now help to keep his spirit alive in the hearts of everyone whose life he touched."

In 1974, Lendrim joined the Department of Music at the College of William and Mary, often serving as chairman. He may be best remembered for his work as director of the college's choir, women's chorus, and the Botetourt Chamber Singers, groups that performed up to seventy concerts a year in the United States and Europe. Their triennial European tours included such venues as Westminster Abbey and Chartres. Lendrim also taught popular courses in music history and literature. He served as the associate organist of Bruton Parish Church, playing services, directing the Canterbury Choir, and giving recitals in both the church and the Wren Chapel of the College.

Recognizing his special contributions, the William and Mary Alumni Society granted Lendrim the Faculty Service Award in 1980. The college chose him for its Thomas Jefferson Award in 1992, and in the year of his retirement, 1996, the Sullivan Award, honoring his distinguished service to William and Mary and the wider community. At his final concert at the college in the spring of 1996, choral alumni gathered on stage for a surprise announcement of the establishment of the Frank T. and Bettye Jean Lendrim Choir Endowment Fund to benefit future choral generations at William and Mary.

In the years following his retirement, Lendrim continued to teach each spring on a limited basis. Concurrently, he taught classes for adults through the Christopher Wren Association, gave numerous lectures at the Williamsburg Landing, and often substituted as organist for churches in the area. He played for countless weddings of former students, often traveling great distances to do so. While in Rockport, he served as interim organist in three area churches and indulged in his favorite hobby, gardening.

Lendrim was interred at Sea View Cemetery in Rockport. A memorial service was held in Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg.

Lendrim is survived by his wife of forty-nine years, Bettye Jean Bryant Lendrim; two daughters, Melanie Lovelace of Williamsburg and Nancy Lendrim of Toledo, Ohio; a son, Robert Lendrim of Westport, Connecticut; and five grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the Frank T. and Bettye Jean Lendrim Choir Endowment Fund in care of the Office of Development, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187.

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