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E. Scott Calvert (Scott)

Died: March 16, 2018,Portland, OR

“As Freshmen first we came to Yale”

As a scared 16-year-old, with zero formal music education and little idea what I was doing, I tried out for a chorus. I discovered that I enjoyed making music with others, and thus began a rewarding, life-long endeavor. I must admit that the fact that Yale was known as a “singing college” practically from its inception brought me to New Haven in 1962.

“And then into the world we come, We’ve made good friends, and studied — some.”

Four years with Glee Clubs and three with a small group later, I graduated — barely (see above). My “gentleman’s C” firmly in hand, I ventured into the Navy’s world of big boy toys for 21 years and largely left behind the “jolly life” of collegiate choral singing.

“Louder yet the chorus raise.”

It wasn’t until late in my Navy career when I arrived in DC (the best singing city in the U.S.) in the early ’80s that I renewed my choral connection. I joined a church choir that presented two major works every year, and I was hooked once again. Which brings me to the other passion that grew out of choral singing — Africa. Through my church choir, my wife and I found ourselves on the evening of the Millennium in a South African township along with 28 seminarians (that’s another story for another time) for a Watch night service — we were hooked. I’ve returned to Africa six times, most recently with my bride and partner for a two and a half month, 8,000 mile, nine country overland trip through southern and eastern Africa. A cushy safari this was not, but what a blast it was. In my last years in DC, I sang with one of the nation’s “million dollar choruses.”

During our 28 years in DC the Yale Alumni Chorus (YAC) was founded, and I became a founding board member of the Chorus Foundation. This led to further extraordinary life experiences on the biggest stages on five continents with world class musicians. As a highlight of my YAC time, I conceived and helped organize a 2007 tour for 220 Yale singers and families to South Africa, which raised over a quarter million dollars for South African charities from U.S. companies doing business in South Africa.

“Oh, why doth time so quickly fly?”

At retirement and weary of Washington, we embarked on a search for a small town with culture, but one that enabled me to continue singing. That brought us to our little southern Oregon tourist town of Ashland, nestled between two mountain chains in the Rogue River Valley, where we have very happily settled in for the duration. With a small liberal arts state university, one of the country’s great repertory theaters, and a myriad of cultural, outdoor, and volunteer activities, Ashland is one of the “Thousand Places to See Before You Die.” We are very happy.

I sing in two choruses now and serve on the board of one — choral singing has been very good to me.

Michael Greengard remembers:
I am sorry to report that Scott Calvert died on March 16 of an infection complicated by acute myeloid leukemia. Scott became ill while he and his wife, Kori, were vacationing in Thailand and he was flown home and hospitalized in Portland, Oregon.

After graduation Scott spent a twenty-year career in the Navy, proverbially seeing the world, and culminating with a multi-year posting in Washington, D.C., where he and Kori chose to settle after his retirement from the Navy. Scott’s most absorbing interest was choral singing and he became a member of a number of Washington’s best choruses. He became a founding member and a keystone of the Yale Alumni Chorus Foundation and played an important role in arranging their ambitious international Power of Song tour to South Africa.. He took great joy both in their music and in the friendships he developed through that organization. Scott was also an enthusiastic and adventurous world traveler and he enjoyed the opportunity to combine two of his most passionate interests.

Scott was a man of many talents. He personally restored—relying on his own expertise and labor— a nineteenth century house that had fallen into disrepair and whose potential glory was far from obvious to those of us of more limited vision. The results were stunning and the annual May Day parties that Scott and Kori hosted, featuring the world’s finest strawberry shortcake, were eagerly anticipated and attended by a grateful cast of thousands.

After Kori’s retirement from the Library of Congress, where she worked as a research librarian, the Calverts settled in Ashland, Oregon, one of the most attractive and culturally diverse small cities in the West.