Dear Mrs. Langston and family, I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing Thursday of Dr. Langston!
I was his composition student at Stetson's School of Music from 1987-90. A good part of the reason I decided to attend Stetson U was because of his well regarded reputation! And I have so many good memories of my time under his tutelage. He wouldn't let you sit passive in lessons very long! He would say "Miss Ryder you look pregnant with thought. Please share with the rest of us your ideas on..." (whatever the subject was...) His knowledge of music history was vast and it primed my imagination. Just the way you would hear him talk about "Paris in the 1920's" and it's rich dynamics of artistry just captured my thoughts and made me want to delve further into reading and learning about the lives of many amazing historical composers and their colorful lives!
Also, Dr. Langston was never shy or held back about giving his honest opinions about some music I composed ....he might say "For me, that's boring and repetitive"....and at first I'd be feel hurt and then I'd take a step back and a second look at my creation and it would almost always be "Hey,by George......I think he's right!".
He deeply cared for and was protective of his students as well. Once when I was struggling to cope with some personal problem while at Stetson, I tearfully confided in him that I was having trouble and that the counseling center staff had put me on a waiting list for to see a therapist. He said "Don't worry I'll take care of this" and he picked up the phone and got me in to see someone right away.....I was so grateful and I felt acknowledged and important!
I loved working with Dr. Langston and am so sorry I didn't get to spend more time with him in his final years. I am so glad I did get to see him at St. Barnabas a couple of times when I came to visit the Church.
What a *great* man. I feel so honored to have been his student!!!
I hope to attend the service Monday morning.
In gratitude, sympathy and love,
Diana Ryder, Bachelor of Music 1990
Owner, Instructor at Ryder Piano Studio