Obituary: Robert De Cormier, baritone, choral director, composer, arranger, 95

Posted on: November 13, 2017

“Robert De Cormier, a classically trained singer and choral composer who helped spur a folk music revival in New York, worked as an arranger for Harry Belafonte and became almost a ‘fourth member’ of the harmonizing vocal outfit Peter, Paul and Mary, died Nov. 7 at a hospital in Rutland, Vt.,” writes Harrison Smith in Thursday’s (11/8) Washington Post. “A dashing baritone, Mr. De Cormier played a leading—if largely invisible—role in the folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, when he arranged politically progressive songs for artists such as Pete Seeger, Cisco Houston and Paul Robeson, sometimes accompanying them with his voice or guitar…. Mr. De Cormier’s musical projects [extended] from his folk arrangements to his work as a composer and director of classical choral groups such as the New York Choral Society, Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Vermont-based group Counterpoint…. Robert Romeo De Cormier Jr. … raised in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. … began playing the trumpet at 7 and continued while attending Colby College in Maine and the University of New Mexico…. He [studied] voice at the Juilliard School … and he graduated in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree, receiving a master’s degree one year later.”

Posted November 13, 2017