Jason Byce

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Family-Placed Death Notice

JASON BYCE Jason Byce, ne Ervin Luther Buice, Jr., internationally known actor/singer/director, passed away on Sunday, February 13, 2005 due to complications related to Multiple Myeloma. In 1962, at the age of 18, Jason Byce began his professional theatre career as a member of the Theatre Under The Stars at Atlanta's Chastain Park. The same season Jason made his operatic debut in La Traviata with Dorothy Kirsten, Richard Tucker and Robert Merrill, after which his career took a variety of creative avenues. Mr. Byce served in The United States Army and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He held a Bachelor's Degree in Voice from Furman University, and a Master's Degree in Voice and Opera Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Byce was cantor and soloist for Saint Patrick's Cathedral and soloist for Temple Israel while living in New York City. Jason Byces' opera repertoire contained more than 25 major roles. He was leading baritone soloist with the Opera Company of Boston, the National Theatre of Yugoslavia in Zagreb and Split, the Wiesbaden Opera in West Germany, and in New York's Lyric Opera and Bel Canto Opera. He performed as guest soloist with several leading symphony orchestras, including the Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Greenville Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony and the National Repertory Orchestra. In the field of musical theatre, Jason starred with such notables as Shirley Jones in BITTER SWEET, Andrea McCardle in Annie Get Your Gun, Ruth Lee in UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN, Elke Sommer in WOMAN OF THE YEAR, Lainie Kazan in FUNNY GIRL, John Carradine in THE FANTASTICS, Stella Parton in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, Avery Schreiber in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, John Cullum in CAMELOT, John Astin in LEND ME A TENOR, and Cindy Williams in MOON OVER BUFFALO, to name a few. Jason appeared on several daytime series, including All My Children, Days of Our Lives, One Life To Live and As The World Turns. He also guest-starred on locally filmed shows, such as I'll Fly Away, Savannah, and In The Heat oaf The Night starring Carroll O'Connor. He was recognized by a guest appearance on Live with Regis and Kathi Lee for his popular Polaner All-Fruit commercial in which he asks, "Would 'ja please pass the jelly?!" Locally, Jason has starred in two Theatre in the Square productions, Lend Me A Tenor (Tito Merelli) and Little Joe Monaghan (Fred Palmer) and directed the 1994 production of "1940's Radio Hour. He was presented the coveted "Jenny Award" as Best Actor for both of these performances. In July of '96, as part of the Atlanta Cultural Olympics, Jason performed a leading role with the Atlanta Opera in a staged concert performance of Gershwin's Pulitzer award-winning Of Thee I Sing. For two seasons he also sang the narration for The Atlanta Youth Orchestra's Christmans production of The Polar Express. "Mr Byce" looked forward each year to directing Choral Students at Smitha Middle School in a professionally directed and performed Broadway Spring Musical. Mr. Byce is survived by his wife, MaryEm; Mother, Lela "Bo" Buice, three children, Allyson West Cybul, John Burton West and his wife Lee, Jayson Charles West and his wife, Marianne, as well as precious grandchildren, Benjamin Adam Cybul and Hannah Rebekah Cybul, Anne Hollins West and Pate Charles West, and John "Jack" Riley West, and beloved Buice cousins. All friends and relatives are invited to attend a Memorial Service, celebrating the life of Jason Byce, at 3:00p.m. Wednesday, February 16th at the Roswell First Baptist Church...710 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell, Georgia. The family will receive friends at 1:30 p.m. in the Church Parlor. Roswell Funeral Home, 950 Mansell Road, 770-993-4811, www.roswellfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Feb. 15, 2005
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