RIP: Raymond Glover, Hymnal 1982 editor

Posted Dec 19, 2017

Raymond Glover conducts a class in 1999 at Virginia Theological Seminary. Photo: Glover Family

Church musician Raymond Glover, 89, who influenced millions of Episcopalians by being the general editor of The Hymnal 1982, died Dec. 15 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Glover was born in Buffalo, New York, and began his musical life as a young chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral there. Later, he sang in the choir at St. Mary Magdalen, when he was an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, studying composition with Healy Willan, who became his mentor and friend. His next move was to Union Theological Seminary to earn a Masters of Sacred Music. He returned to Buffalo as cathedral organist and choirmaster and met Joyce MacDonald (1923-2013), who was director of Christian education. They were married on Easter Monday 1957 and remained partners in so many ways throughout their life together.

From Buffalo, they moved to the cathedral in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1962, where Glover built a vibrant music and arts program that reached deep into the urban community on the church’s doorstep and beyond into the surrounding suburbs. The highlights of those 11 years at Christ Church Cathedral included numerous organ recitals and flower shows, performances of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Britten’s Noye’s Fludde and St. Nicholas, and a professional recording of the choir to assist the fundraising for their two-week tour of England in 1971.

The 1960s were a time of great change, and Glover played his role in musical response to liturgical reform as a member of what was then known as the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Church Music. During this decade, he taught at Berkeley Divinity School and found time while on the Yale campus to study organ with the university’s organist, Charles Krigbaum. Then in 1966, Glover joined Jim Litton and Gerre Hancock to found the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM) and served as president from 1969-70.

Jack Spong, who was then rector of St. Paul’s in Richmond, Virginia, and later became bishop of the Diocese of Newark, called Glover to become director of music. During his time there, Glover oversaw the building of new choirs, music and arts programs and a new organ. He continued to travel extensively as chair of the church music commission’s hymnal committee, preparing the way for the new hymnal, which he was appointed to edit in 1980.

The Hymnal 1982 was dedicated at Washington National Cathedral in 1985, and Glover went on to edit a four-volume companion. In 1986, he was granted an honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), where he later joined the faculty as professor of music and organist (1991-2000). With Marilyn Keiser and Carol Doran he was instrumental in the development of the Program for Musicians Serving in Small Congregations. Following his retirement, Glover continued to teach and develop new courses in collaboration with VTS colleagues.

In addition to his decades of service to the Episcopal Church, he also taught music and conducted choirs for independent schools in each of the cities where he was organist and choirmaster – Nichols in Buffalo, Kingswood-Oxford in Hartford and St. Catherine’s in Richmond.

Glover will be buried at Virginia Theological Seminary, following a funeral in the seminary chapel at 10:30 a.m.on Dec. 28. Donations will be gratefully received by VTS and AAM. He is survived by his daughters, Margaret and Katie, and grandchildren Sarah and Simon Lasseron and Rachel and Susannah Mahon.


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Comments (17)

  1. Sandy Moyle says:

    I’m sad to hear this news but grateful for the time I knew Dr Glover at VTS as professor and advisor. He was dedicated, clever, funny, kind and more…

  2. We at St. Paul’s Cathedral (Buffalo) celebrate the life of our former chorister, organist and choir master as he joins the celestial choir. May he rest in paradise and rise in glory+.

  3. Fr Richard Norman says:

    Pleased to have known this remarkable man.

  4. The Rev. Susan Mills says:

    I am fortunate to have known Ray Glover a little, through the Association of Diocesan Liturgy and Music Commissions (ADLMC). He was a great leader and teacher.

  5. Marty Wheeler Burnett says:

    Thank you for an excellent article honoring an outstanding Episcopal musician. There is one error that needs correcting. The correct name of the educational program mentioned is the Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Congregations (LPM). This innovative program provided courses in church music and liturgy in dioceses throughout the Episcopal Church. Ray was instrumental in developing the curriculum and training diocesan coordinators. I was privileged to serve in this capacity and learn from this master teacher.

  6. Ray was a member of St. Paul’s Alexandra after he and Joyce moved to Godwin House West in Alexandria VA. He sang in the choir and filled in as interim director as St. Paul’s searched for a new organist and choir master. He continued to sing in the choir until climbing the steep, narrow steps made it to dangerous for him. Ray was a gentle and kind soul reflecting true Christian values and love to all who worked with him. I was privileged to sing with him at VTS when I was a student. Ray will be missed. God rest his soul.

  7. Stephen C Casey says:

    Deeply saddened at the passing of Ray Glover…my professor of church music from 1992-95. I sang in his chapel choir as well as his motet choir. A man of charm and grace, and someone whose well of learning I have drawn on throughout my ordained ministry. Sad that I cannot attend the service of VTS, but will offer prayers at St. Gregory’s Abbey, Michigan

  8. Matthew Bradley says:

    Prayers and thanksgiving to God for Dr. Glover’s witness and ministry, and my sympathy to his family as they mourn his passing.

  9. Walton Pettit says:

    I was on the staff with Ray Glover at St. Paul’s Richmond during the 1970’s. He was a wonderful person to work with and we all enjoyed his introduction of new hymns and music to this leading parish in Virginia.

  10. This busy and productive singer of Christ never failed to be an earthly friend.

  11. Jack H Haney+ says:

    Ray and Joyce were good friends. I miss them both. May they both continue to Rest In Peace and rise in glory.

  12. Thanks for this fine article about a lovely man. Ray Glover was instrumental in encouraging me as a composer and church musician in the late 70s and 80s. I’m eternally grateful for him sending me copies of 77 hymns that needed music so they might be included in the Hymnal 1982. I wrote about a dozen tunes, and although none were accepted, I did find some lovely texts, including Richard Wilbur’s Christmas Hymn (A stable lamp is lighted).
    His work founding AAM, on the Hymnal 1982 Companion, and in setting up the LPM was huge, and his kindness and laugh remain in my heart. RIP sweet man.

  13. Phillip Ayers says:

    Ray Glover was my teacher at Berkeley Divinity School in the late sixties, not the best time for traditional Anglican Church music! But he soldiered on and taught us well. He gave the dedicatory recital on the Noack organ in the chapel (now at St Luke’s Chapel, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, on St. Ronan Street near YDS) in 1968. We house-sat for the Glovers when I was doing CPE in Hartford that summer, and it was but one sign of the generosity and friendship that Ray and Joyce showed us. We kept in touch through the years, and I still dip into his 4-volume commentary on Hymnal 1982. Requiescat in pace, Raymondus!

  14. Martha Jones Burford says:

    Some of us who had the great fortune to be molded by Ray as teenagers at St. Catherine’s, St. Christopher’s, and St. Paul’s, Richmond, have reminisced this week from East to West Coast—his proteges were many. And to a one, we remember his passion, his joy, and his fierce commitment to excellence. His robust presence kept choristers on the edge of their seats. He demanded the best of us as musicians, and, more importantly, as disciples engaged in God’s ministry of music. We are grateful for his and Joyce’s lifelong mentoring of us and so many.

  15. The Rev. Noreen Buckley Seiler (Dubay) says:

    Dr. Glover helped me in 1995-96 when as an Interim, I was trying to introduce the 1982 Hymnal to a church which was almost completely closed to using it. Between his lectures and an organist friend, Russell Freeman’s accompaniment, I was able with some Vestry members’ help to introduce the use of the 1982 Hymnal as an “experiment.” Dr. Glover had just the right approach to the “new” hymnal which ultimately did stay in use there. God bless you and rest in peace!

  16. Eleanor Drake Whitelaw says:

    Dr. Glover and I had such fun. He practiced for services and I did the flowers on the altar. He often helped me find special greenery on campus. He loved the chapel. I shared lovely dinners with he and his wife. So sad to hear of his death but I am blessed to have had good times with him.
    Drake

  17. Kitty Babson says:

    I remember Ray and Joyce both as excellent listeners and always generous in spirit, whose lives might be said appropriately as having made “a joyful sound unto the Lord!”

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