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George Bragg

1926 - 2007 Obituary Condolences
George Bragg, founder of the Texas Boys Choir and two-time Grammy Award winner, passed away peacefully Thursday, May 31, 2007.

Memorial service: 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at 3901 S. Hulen St. (Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts).

Memorials: Those who would like to preserve Mr. Bragg's memory and his life's works may make a donation to the George Bragg Boy Choir Music Library, attention: Mr. Morris Martin, Box 305190, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 76203-5190, or to the Texas Boys Choir, 3901 W. Hulen St., Fort Worth, Texas 76109.

Mr. Bragg was born Jan. 24, 1926, in Meridian, Miss., to George W. Bragg Sr. and Elizabeth Hairston Bragg. In 1934, the Bragg family moved to Birmingham, Ala., where Mr. Bragg joined the famous Apollo Boys Choir.

On Feb. 7, 1946, Mr. Bragg, a freshman at North Texas State College, founded the Denton Civic Boys Choir. The choir moved to Fort Worth in 1957 and was renamed the Texas Boys Choir. In the same year, the choir appeared on the "Pat Boone Show." In 1959, George Bragg, Stephen Seleny and James Walker founded the Texas Boys Choir School, which three years later became Trinity Valley School.

Under Mr. Bragg's direction, the choir grew in prominence and became a world-class musical organization. In 1961, the choir made its Town Hall debut in New York City. On the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, the choir sang at the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth for President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, several hours before his assassination. In the 1960s, the choir appeared on the "Perry Como Show" and "Ed Sullivan Show." After conducting the choir on a recording of his "Persephone," the famous composer Igor Stravinsky called the choir "the greatest boy choir in the world."

Mr. Bragg received his first Grammy Award in 1967 from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for Best Choral Performance on "Charles Ives: Music for Chorus." The following year, he received his second Grammy Award for "The Glory of Gabrieli," which was recorded in St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy.

During Mr. Bragg's tenure, the choir gave over 3,000 performances, which included 13 domestic and five European concert tours. They also performed on radio and television as well as with opera companies and symphony orchestras. Under his direction, the choir recorded 26 albums.

After 29 years of instilling within young men the pursuit of excellence, Mr. Bragg left the choir in 1975 to share his expertise with other boy choirs throughout the United States, including the California Boys' Choir, the Pasadena Boys Choir, the Arkansas Boys Choir, the Boys Choir of Harlem, the Paulist Choristers of Los Angeles and Florida's Singing Sons Boychoir in Fort Lauderdale.

In 1994, Mr. Bragg was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He then suffered a debilitating stroke in 1996.

The family wishes to thank the employees of Renaissance Park and Odyssey Hospice and all of Mr. Bragg's doctors, especially Dr. Le, for their kindness and tender loving care.

Survivors: His brother, Louis Bragg and his wife, Shirley, of Arlington; his nephew, David Bragg, his wife, Kim, and their children of Arlington; his niece, Debbie Williams, her husband, Gary, and their children of Arlington; and his niece, Susan O'Keefe of Oklahoma City. He also leaves behind his caregiver, Kenneth Polito of Fort Worth.

Published in Star-Telegram on June 2, 2007
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