Thomas P. Frost
Thomas P. Frost, organist and choirmaster in the Berkshires for over fifty years, died in Pittsfield on April 5 at the age of 86. For the past six years, he resided at Hillcrest Commons, where he drove his wheelchair around with skill and satisfaction, greeting aides and patients by name, and welcoming newcomers.His Christian faith was both traditional and trans-denominational. Born into a Congregational family in Brooklyn, NY, he joined one of New York City's finest Episcopal boy choirs, St Paul's in-the-Village-of-Flatbush, and there learned to play the pipe organ. He continued his organ studies at Princeton University under Carl Weinrich, one of America's leading organists, while earning a cum laude degree in electrical engineering. Tom's dream was to build pipe organs, but for practical reasons he chose to work as an engineer, project manager and computer scientist with General Electric for forty-four years to support a career as organist and choirmaster. Over the decades he was organist at the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield, St Paul's Episcopal Church in Stockbridge, First Congregational Church in North Adams, St Mark's Catholic Church in Pittsfield, the National Shrine of the Catholic Church in Stockbridge, and jointly at St Theresa's and St Mary's churches in Pittsfield. Tom's personal saint was the great Lutheran baroque organist and composer Johann Sebastian Bach, whose music inspired Tom through his lifetime. He was a ninth-generation organist in direct line of instructional succession from Bach, which included Charles-Marie Widor of Paris, Marcel Dupre, and Carl Weinrich--an aristocracy of apostles for J. S. Bach, which includes Carlton Maaia II, Tom's leading organ student, at First Church, Pittsfield. The first Dean of the Berkshire AGO Chapter, Tom was a member of the AGO for nearly sixty years. He became Chairman of the AGO's Region 1 (New England) Annual Convention of organists, which was hosted by the Berkshire Chapter in Pittsfield in 1997. He founded and directed the Berkshire Organ Academy, the Berkshire Schola Cantorum, and the North County Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols. He also composed and arranged music, and published articles in the Organ Institute Quarterly. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, founder of the Stockbridge Summer Music Festival, and by his brother, Richard H. Frost and his wife, Barbara, his sister Elizabeth F. Buck and her husband, Alfred S. Buck, MD, and five nieces and nephews and their children. FUNERAL NOTICE: A memorial service with special music will be held at First Church, Pittsfield, on June 14 at 11 a.m. followed by a reception in the church parlor.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Apr. 20, 2014