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James Bailey


1921 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
James Bailey Obituary
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1921, James Louis Bailey studied at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York; Juilliard School of Music, New York City, and abroad at the Akademie fur Music und darstellende Kunst, Vienna, Austria; and the Royal Academy, London. He subsequently earned multiple degrees in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he served on the voice faculty at the School of Music, and later as the Chairman of the Voice Division. During his tenure, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the School of Music, and to the UIUC's Faculty-Student Senate. Mr. Bailey was also president of the honorary music fraternity Pi Kappa Lamba. Mr. Bailey's early career was given impetus when he won top honors in the Chicago Tribune's famed Chicago Musicland Festival. Other professional achievements included his recordings as soloist for the renowned Little Church Around the Corner in New York City and for Follett's Educational Series on Columbia Records, and appearing as soloist at the official Memorial Day celebration at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, with then-President Harry S. Truman as the speaker. He sang the title role in Benjamin Britten's "St. Nicholas" with the Vienna Boys' Choir, the Vienna Opera Chorus, and the State Opera Orchestra. He also received critical acclaim for his multiple performances as the narrator in J.S. Bach's "St. Matthew's Passion." As tenor soloist with the Collegium Musicum at UIUC, Mr. Bailey performed widely throughout the east at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brandeis, Cornell, the Eastman School of Music, and other universities. A life-long educator, he was president of the Chicago Singing Teachers' Guild, and developed innovative methods of teaching for both undergraduate and graduate students. Over the course of his distinguished career, Mr. Bailey concertized widely in Europe and the eastern, southern, and mid-western United States, appearing as tenor soloist with oratorio societies, opera companies, choral societies, and in recitals. He retired as Professor Emeritus from UIUC after 41 years of teaching, mentoring, and motivating undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world. In retirement, he dedicated his time to collecting art and antiques, travel, gardening, church work, studying Revolutionary War history, and doting on his grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joan Bailey (nee Beard); daughters Gwenyth (Richard) Knorr and Jeanne Bailey; grandchildren Victoria E. Flynn, Theodore James Flynn, and Kaylee Knorr; sister-in-law Juanita Bailey; nephews and nieces Simon M. Bailey III, Gene W. Bailey III, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Rebecca Bresler, and Jennifer F. Bailey; and many great nieces and nephews. Surrounded by family, Professor Bailey died peacefully at his home in Chicago on May 16, 2013. His funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 24, at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Salvation Army (www.salvationarmyusa.org) would be appreciated.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on May 22, 2013
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