(Vinson) (Age 69)
After a sudden illness, JoAnne passed away on June 3, 2017 at Sacred Heart, surrounded by the love and comfort of her family.
Born in 1947 to Billy and Yvette Vinson, JoAnne spent her formative years in Anchorage, Alaska before attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduating with a B. A. in Music. A Master's in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan soon followed, and the embarkation on an impassioned career in performing and teaching music. Sadly, while touring the Soviet Union with the University Chamber Choir, her beloved father Billy died unexpectedly at the age of 52.
A talented mezzo-soprano soloist, JoAnne was the district winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Portland, Oregon for three years, and had her first professional role with the Portland Opera Company in 1974. While completing an Apprenticeship with the Santa Fe Opera the following year, JoAnne and her then-husband became pregnant with their first child, Yvonne. Their second daughter Renee would follow two years later.
An avid traveler, JoAnne lived in Spain for several years with her young family, and upon returning to the United States, moved to Spokane, Washington in 1982. She began teaching to area students, first at Northwest Christian School, and later at Whitworth and Gonzaga Universities.
JoAnne first performed with the Spokane Symphony under the conductor Bruce Ferden. More performances with companies around the Pacific Northwest would follow, including the Seattle and Portland Symphonies, Spokane's Uptown Opera, Connoisseur Concerts and the Northwest Bach Festival.
Having begun a PhD. at the University of Washington, JoAnne left teaching in 2000 to complete her dissertation on the life and works of the English composer Edward Elgar. Her later years would be dedicated to supporting the Spokane String Quartet, serving on their Board of Directors, and sponsoring performances of another British composer, the Elgar specialist John Pickard.
She will be remembered for her passionate support of Spokane's classical music community, as a vibrant member of the First Presbyterian Choir, and as a beloved daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother.
JoAnne is survived by her mother, three sisters, two brothers, two children and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 318 S. Cedar St., Spokane, on June 28, at 2:00 p.m. The family kindly suggests donations to the Spokane String Quartet in lieu of flowers or other gifts.
Published by Spokesman-Review on Jun. 25, 2017.