Volume CI, No. 9September, 2001
Michael Barton – Viola
Arthur Bowie – Organ
George Brackman – Conductor/Arranger
William N. Branigan – Electric Guitar
Joseph A. Gola – Saxophone
Tara M. Gregory – Piano
Lawrence Harr – Clarinet
Reynold (Renny) Knops – Trumpet
Jay Stemmerman – Piano
Campbell Tolbert – Saxophone
Dioris Valladares – Timbales/Arranger
Phil Wayne – Piano/Conductor
Aston P. Williams – Saxophone
Michael Barton, 95, a violist and an 802 member since 1947, died on July 22.
A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Mr. Barton served in the Canadian Army during World War II. He received a degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and was a member of the Parlow String Quartet. He subsequently joined the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. Mr. Barton performed as a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and, from 1968 until 1985, was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
He is survived by his wife Reiko, stepson Michael, nephew William and niece Antoinette.
Arthur Bowie, 95, a pianist and organist who joined Local 802 in 1929, died on July 18.
A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Bowie began studying the piano and organ with his father at an early age, later attending the Queens Conservatory of Music. At 17 he became the organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. Five years later he moved to Atlantic City, where he performed as a jazz pianist in night clubs and a church organist. He moved to New York the following year, and soon began performing with many well-known musicians of that era. He played in dance halls such as the Renaissance Casino, Savoy Ballroom, Rockland Palace, Bamboo Inn, Small’s Paradise and the Cotton Club. In 1938, with the Leon Gross orchestra, he appeared in the cast of Oscar Micheaux’s production of God’s Children.
During the 1940s he and pianist Francis Carter formed the piano duo Carter and Bowie. They performed at Radio City Music Hall, the Roxy Theatre, on Broadway in the musical Sons of Fun, and on radio and television, appearing on such programs as Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Show. They performed regularly at Cerrutti’s supper club on Madison Avenue.
In the early ’50s Mr. Bowie became a solo pianist and Hammond organist. He was hired by Billy Rose at the Casa Manana and played at the Waldorf-Astoria, the Pierre Hotel and Wells Music Room. In 1957 he became the musical director for Ralph Cooper’s Spotlight on Harlem Variety Show, on prime time television. Among the performers he accompanied over the years were Maxine Sullivan, Sarah Vaughan and Lionel Hampton.
More recently, he was the pianist with the Senior Citizens Bethune Big Band of New York. He is a fellow of the American Organist Guild, a member of the Friendly Fifty Social Club and the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge.
Mr. Bowie is survived by daughter Jacquelyn, grandson Curtis, granddaughter Sharon, and great-grandsons Collin and Kyle. A memorial service will be held on Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 137th Street at Edgecome and St. Nicholas Avenue.
Tara Gregory, 31, a composer, producer and keyboard and guitar player, died on July 4. She had been an 802 member since 1999,
Ms. Gregory had worked in commercial music production for the last eight years, beginning while still a student in music business at New York University. After an internship with Ruggieri Music, she joined the company as a staff composer, eventually serving as business manager and later as executive producer. While at Ruggieri Music she scored themes for CNBC and Fox News and spots for Disney and Bell Atlantic, among other clients. She also co-wrote several pieces for performances of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
In 1999 she joined the staff of WAX Music and Sound Design, handling all creative aspects of production there in addition to composing for a number of television, radio and multimedia projects. In recent years she had helped a number of new composers and musicians develop their careers.
Ms. Gregory is survived by her mother Claire, stepfather Paul Burke, an 802 member, sister Anna and brothers Thomas and Ian. A memorial scholarship is being established at her high school alma mater, Rye Neck High School in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Lawrence Harr, a clarinet player, died on July 23 in Saratoga Springs, where he had resided since his retirement. He had been a member of Local 802 for six decades.
Mr. Harr was born in Rankin, Pa., and graduated from Carnegie Mellon as a music major. He studied at the Juilliard School and received a master’s degree in music education from Columbia University. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, playing in the 581st Air Force Band. He performed with the New York City Ballet orchestra from 1950 until he retired in 1986.
He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, son Burgess, brother Edwin, and several cousins, nieces and nephews.