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William Franklin Summers


1937 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
William Franklin Summers Obituary
William Franklin Summers

March 4, 1937 – July 26, 2018

William Franklin Summers passed away peacefully on July 26, 2018 in Naples, FL.

A native of Norfolk, VA, he was born on March 4th, 1937 as the only child of Alger Franklin Summers and Anne Lee Wells. After finishing high school, he enrolled at the College of William and Mary graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (Biology and Music). Later, he completed graduate degrees in Vocal Performance from Indiana University (Master of Music, 1961) and from the University of Michigan (Doctorate of Musical Arts, 1976). From 1961 to 1964 he also served as a specialist in the United States Army Band and Chorus.

After winning the 1966 prestigious Vocal Competition of the Liederkrantz Foundation in New York City, he embarked on a professional career as a singer, during which he performed more than thirty five operatic bass roles in hundreds of performances. Highlights in the United States include appearances with such companies as The Metropolitan Opera Studio, Turnau Opera, Florida Grand Opera and The Opera Orchestra of New York. In Europe, after a year of further specialized studies in Zurich with the J. Ralph Corbett Foundation (1970), he was appointed principal basso at the State Opera (Stadttheater) in Bern, Switzerland and recorded extensively with the Austrian National Television and for the Decca-Telefunken recording company. Prior to his vocal career he actively performed as cellist and pianist, as well as professionally as percussionist with the Norfolk and Richmond Symphony Orchestras in Virginia. Elsewhere, he also served for twenty eight years as Director of Music for various churches. Upon retirement, he became a core member of the percussion sections of the Naples and Bonita Beach Concert Bands for several seasons.

After short teaching stints at Eastern Michigan and Southern Louisiana Universities (1974-6), he joined the Voice Faculty of the University of Miami, where he spent the remainder of his academic career (1976-2000). There he taught applied voice, opera history and literature and was responsible for producing and stage-directing all student operatic performances. Since 1987 he served as a member of the faculty at the annual summer program of vocal studies of the University of Miami's Frost School of Music in Salzburg, Austria. In 1997, Scarecrow Press, Inc. published his book, "Operas in One Act: A Production Guide," which is currently still in circulation and widely used by university opera programs and professional companies alike.

A resident of Naples, Florida since 2002, William

Franklin Summers was preceded in death by his parents; and wife, professional singer and educator, Lorine

Buffington-Summers. He is survived by a daughter, Leah Summers-Dimaras, son-in-law, Charis Dimaras; and two grandchildren, Panos and Alex Dimaras.

In accordance to his wishes no memorial services are planned. Memorial contributions may instead be made in his name to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (www.corkscrew.audubon.org).
Published in Naples Daily News on Aug. 12, 2018
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