Smith, Harvey Keith
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died peacefully, surrounded by his loving family on December 13, 2012 after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. Born in Phoenix in 1936, Dr. Smith received his education at Grand Canyon University, Occidental College, the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona, where he was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1974. He taught music in the Madison Elementary and Phoenix Union High School districts, as well as at Phoenix College. He served as Minister of Music at a number of Valley churches, including Valley Presbyterian, First United Methodist (Phoenix), First Baptist Church (Phoenix) and others. From 1960 - 1999, he served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Phoenix Boys Choir, where he played a vital role in creating and shaping the organization which helped generations of boys grow into confident young men through education in the art of singing, developing character, leadership, discipline, global awareness and the joy of making music. Dr. Smith was a great spirit and consummate musician as well as a wonderful human being, manifested in part by his gentle manner, his caring warmth, and his acuity of insight and wisdom. His life and work remain an inspiration to all who knew him and his musical legacy will continue for generations. Dr. Smith was the author/narrator of the video teaching series Singing and Growing and received an "Outstanding Educator of America" award and appeared as clinician for Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA); American Choral Directors Association (ACDA); MusiCamrose in Alberta, Canada; Taipei City Schools, as well as throughout the USA. He conducted the National Honor Boy Choir at the national ACDA convention in Chicago and served as Vice President for North America for Les Petits Chanteurs du Monde. He was a "Distinguished Member" of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity and on the Advisory Council for the National Society of Arts and Letters. Dr. Smith received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arizona chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Raymond G. Van Diest Arts Advocacy Award from the Arizona Music Educators Association. In 1999, Dr. Smith received the Arizona Governor's Arts Award and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Grand Canyon University as well as a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Arizona School of Music. Dr. Smith and the Phoenix Boys Choir were awarded a Grammy for Best Choral Performance in 2000 for their participation in the premier recording of Penderecki's Credo, recorded in collaboration with Helmuth Rilling and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus in 1998. On December 16, 2012, the Board of Trustees of the Phoenix Boys Choir posthumously named the choir's Artistic Director position the "Harvey K. Smith Artistic Directorship" in perpetuity. Accolades and tributes from choir alumni and other musicians and educators have been heart-felt and numerous.
Dr. Smith enjoyed traveling, cooking and scuba diving and shared his love of the ocean with his wife, children and grandchildren.
A private Interment service will be held. Friends are welcome to the Memorial Celebration Service at 2 pm on February 2, 2013 at St. Barnabas On The Desert Church (6715 North Mockingbird Lane, Scottsdale, AZ 85253).
Dr. Smith is survived by his wife of 36 years Dorothy Lincoln-Smith, sons Harvey Keith Smith II (Tamara), Mark Russell Smith (Ellen), daughters Kerstan Lincoln Ruffer, Lisa Lincoln (Nathaniel Gloekler); grandchildren Harvey III, Connor, Alexander, Noah, Gail, Abby, & Gabriel.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Dr. Harvey K. Smith Legacy Fund of the Phoenix Boys Choir, the Music Department at St. Barnabas On The Desert Church, or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 23, 2012