Linda Lanier-Keosaian (1940-2013), of Hackensack, NJ, died on January 28 in her home following a brief illness.
She was a gifted and highly respected public school music educator, choral conductor, and church organist and choir director. Throughout her professional career, she demonstrated the highest levels of excellence and devotion to her art.
As a church organist and choir director, she served all major Christian denominations in both long-term and guest positions. A music teacher and choral conductor in the New Jersey public school system for more than twenty-five years, she spent seventeen of those years at Arts High School in Newark. She directed the Mass Chorus, the Freshmen and Sophomore Women's Choirs, the advanced Women's Ensemble, and a chamber chorus known as the Arts High Singers. Her Women's Choirs were rated "Superior" year after year at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) High School Festivals in New Jersey. In addition, she conducted the All North Jersey Junior High Women's Honors Choir and the All North Jersey High School Women's Honors Choir in 1997 and 2011, respectively. She founded the New Jersey High School Women's Choir Festival, co-sponsored by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Essex County College, and she co-founded the Essex County Choral Festival. In 2010, she presented a paper on the teaching of world drumming at the 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education in Beijing, China.
She received her Bachelor of Music in organ performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she also attended the University of Alabama. She earned her Master of Sacred Music from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where her areas of concentration were organ performance, conducting, and composition. She gave her masters recital at St. James Episcopal Church in New York City.
At the time of her death, she was in the final stages of the dissertation phase of her Ph.D. studies in Music Education at New York University. The focus of her doctoral dissertation was César Franck's final composition, the organ Choral No. 3 in A minor. Since Franck left that work arguably incomplete at his death, she was examining differing interpretive approaches to the piece by offering herself as an organ student to a number of renowned organists and scholars in Europe and the United States.
She is survived by her husband of thirty years, the Rev. Gregory J. Keosaian; her daughter, Peternelle van Arsdale; her son, Jan W. van Arsdale, Jr.; her son-in-law Bryan Oettel; her daughter-in-law Amy van Arsdale; her five grandchildren, Galen Oettel, and Jansen, Carolynn, Stedman, and Jane van Arsdale; her sister, Ruth Lyle King; and her brother, Eldred Sorrell Lanier, Jr. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 16, at 3PM at the First Presbyterian Church in Englewood, NJ. Donations in her memory may be made to the John R. Rodland Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Carol Hollen, 99 Franklin Avenue, Oakland, NJ 07436.
Published in New York Times from Feb. 8 to Feb. 9, 2013.