Lou Magor of Kenyon Hall fame has died
Well known West Seattle musician and teacher Lou Magor has died. He was 75.
His biography on the Kenyon Hall website, a local performance venue he took over in roughly 1989 said, "Magor began playing the piano at age six and quickly became the toast of his native Auburn, Nebraska. He holds Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University. He taught junior high and high school music in the Chicago area before moving to San Francisco in 1974 to direct the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. In 1984 he became music director and accompanist for Broadway legend Mary Martin. Before moving to Seattle to direct the Seattle Bach Choir, he served as Music Director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus.
Louis has been an Artistic Director of the Seattle Bach Choir, Music Director at Wallingford United Methodist Church, and founder of the West Seattle Children's Chorus. He also teaches Kindermusik at the Hall."
He led the San Franciso Boys Chorus at the 1985 Superbowl too.
According to those close to the matter, he had not been seen since last Sunday and missed a Tuesday Kindermusik ZOOM session with Locöl Barley and Vine's Scott Maybanks. Discussions of his absence became more worrisome and a customer there went to Magor's home. With the lights off and no response to knocks on the door, the police were called. Upon entry, he was found in his bed.
Magor was well known in the West Seattle Junction and was often seen at West5 and Jak's Grill but his daily routine at Kenyon Hall was punctuated with visits to his neighbors, Locöl and Westy Sports and Spirits. Westy Co-Owner JP Vidicans said of him, "Lou really was part of what made West Seattle, West Seattle. He was intertwined with the community from the time that you were born to having some of the greatest shows, and taking care of our elderly community. He was such an ambassador for all things West Seattle." He recalled a unique experience one evening as he heard music and an unmistakable voice coming out of Kenyon Hall. "I was just walking by and heard Eddie Vedder's voice coming from inside. It was a special performance Eddie did for a film he did the music for and only a few people got the tickets, But Lou was that kind of guy."
Kyle Duce, owner of Locol got to know Lou well and said, " I met Lou 13 years ago and knew instantly he would be family. Little did I know I was opening Locöl next door to Kenyon hall shortly after. He was part of our small Locöl family from the beginning.
He was always an instant ray of sunshine, his laugh was infectious and his sarcasm kept you on your toes. See ya In the sunshine Lou, your heart and soul will live forever!"
Maybanks said, "Lou was family. Lou was just real and would keep me in check. If I had a wrong opinion he'd be like 'No, you're an idiot' or talking about my kid, he'd say 'Here's how you handle that situation' because he was a teacher. It's going to be tough not having that daily check... He will be missed. There are only really a few people that have that kind of impact in a community. He was one of them."
We rented Kenyan Hall for our 10th anniversary. Friends and family from near and far loved the venue, danced to music we played at our wedding and Lou played the organ for us. He was an open hearted gentleman whose passing befits such a kind soul.
I sang with Lou for his entire tenure with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. They were incredible years of music-making and camaraderie. I saw him at a Zoom memorial only a few weeks ago and he seemed so healthy and "himself".
As the news spreads thru our Junction and our town it’s no surprise that this affects us all deeply. Lous great gift to all of us was his genuine love for people and inspiring and contagious love for music His incredible talent , quick wit and eagerness to share was a great blessing to us and our children He graced or stores restaurants and bars with laughter and provided entertainment ( and rootbeer floats ) to so many at kenyon hall As much as we claim him as our own
He will be missed around the country as well I write this with a tear in my eye and a Magorita in hand as we toast this great man at the West 5
What a terrible shock! Lou will be deeply missed. West Seattle was/is a happier, friendlier, richer place because Lou chose to live here. How fortunate we all are to have shared time and space with him.
Our children were incredibly blessed to have Lou as their music teacher at Tilden School. His love of music and joy for childhood was unrivaled. We will miss you dearly teacher Lou.
Lou was a grand human being. When my son moved to Seattle, Lou took time out of his very busy schedule to make him feel more at home. When my son and his wife had a baby, Lou got the Dtap shot just so he could visit them. What a guy! What a musician. What a loss - for all of us.
I met Lou on Zoom only 8 months ago. He has been teaching my son music theory and glockenspiel. He was an extraordinary teacher and everything he introduced became the next week’s topic for my kid. From the start of our first class, when Lou suddenly hollered RUN! And giggled at all the boys running around their houses, I was in joyful awe. After that, Lou would ask each person (mom and dads included) to give an ‘owie’ update. If you had none, you were owie free. Well Lou, today we are decidedly NOT owie free, and my son only knows three notes.
I’m so sorry to learn this news - Lou was pure magic to all who knew him. I was lucky enough to have him as a music teacher at Tilden in the 1990s. As part of the children’s chorus, we learned SO much from him. We even sang opening night for the Mariners at the Kingdome one year. His energy and talent were shared with so many over the years. Rest In Peace, Lou.
I was a good friend of Lou's having sung with SFSC Mahler 8 and then the Bohemian Club Chorus. He was simply one of the great choral conductors and musicians. He was wonderul.
So shocked--I san with Lou and SF Symphony Chorus and the Bohemian Club Chorus--he was a good friend and such a brilliant director and musician. So sad. Rest In Peace, Lou!!
I met Lou at Kenyon Hall exactly 6 years ago. He possessed the ability to make someone feel like a lifelong friend, family even. His contributions to the community and arts have left us grieving, and with so much gratitude. Wonderful man.
During his tenure as Conductor of the San Symphony Chorus, he created a chamber choir to perform in smaller venues. He was not sure what to name the group and I suggested it had to be called The Louis Magor Singers. That appropriately became the name. In his rehearsals we danced, sang in mixed arrangements so that we could better hear all parts. There was much humor and conviviality. Deeply sad to hear he’s gone.
This is such sad news. Louis and many of us had the same piano teacher ‘in the day’ in Auburn. Even then his gift as a musician and entertainer were recognized. The rest of us prayed to get thru a recital but Louis was the star we all waited to hear!! Our families were close friends and shared good times and stories . Such a lost for his community and colleagues as well as many friends. He was a blessing to others and so blessed.
One of the great privileges of my life was singing under Lou’s baton with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus in the late 70s and early 80s. I will never forget. There are countless memories that are bringing both tears and smiles to my heart. Lou was in his early 30s, bounding with the joy of life and music. We were a family and our young member made each person feel important. Such talent, warmth, humor, . I am so terribly saddened. I think of the arrangement he put together for us of “ Softly,I will Leave You “ Go softly, dear friend, . You will be missed beyond measure.
This is such shocking news. I feel like I lost a beloved friend. I sang with SFSC for five years, and truly found Lou masterful musically, with a persona that endeared him to so many. When I was to be married on Orcas Island, Lou volunteered to play for the wedding—gratis. Again, that's Lou! I exchanged emails with him only a few months ago. When began working as a vocal director in musical theater, I realized one night how I had unconsciously absorbed his physical style. Such a special man. Thank you, Lou.
I went to school in Auburn with Louey, he played piano for our High School music program....the girls glee....and many groups...he was our only pianist beside our music teacher! He accompanied me when I played a clarinet solo for our local music contest. I had the good fortune to say "Hi" to him backstage when he was conducting the San Francisco Chorus one night many years ago! He was a talented man and a gentleman.
He was always willing to meet, visit, inspire. So sorry to hear this today.
I am a touring sSnger/ Songwriter and would play Kenyon Hall once or twice a year on my Pac/ Northwest tours...I loved working with Lou. I usually would stay with him and actually played a service at his church once. He was absolutely wonderful to be with, fun, charming a bit nutty...perfect for the venue and the ambiance he created. I am so sorry. I had an urge to call him last week to tell him how much I missed him...I truly miss him now. Thank you Lou for being Lou.
I am shocked and saddened by Lou's death! When I was in town I looked forward to Tuesday night choir rehearsals at Kenyon Hall as I knew I would get to visit with Lou. Rest in Heaven Lou. You will be missed!
This is Very upsetting. Lou was huge in my 20’s : Fred and I met singing in the Symphony chorus under his direction and sang in Lou Magor Singers. I attended Westboro Music Festival in La Honda which I think Lou headed. He made every rehearsal a delight, and I adored him. God rest his soul.
Remembering you Lou makes me smile ear to ear. Your warmth and positivity always filled me with such a good feeling, a feeling of love.
To watch you play piano effortlessly was pure joy. Your choral directing at WUMC made all of us better singers and added the gift of community in music. Thank you for your hug whenever I returned to WUMC after moving away. How blessed all of us are to have spent time with you. I am a better person for having been with you and now inspired even more from the legacy you lived abundantly in so many ways. RIP
As Lou often recalled how he came to accompany the choir. I concluded that it was no accident that he JUST happened to hear the choir that day. God’s plan evidently was for him to minister around the world with us, which he gladly did. Rest on my Christian brother. WELL DONE, good and faithful servant.
I remember with such fondness the many, many times that Lou played the piano in the Bastyr University Chapel. He always accompanied Pastor Pat Wright when she sang for the autumn convocation and filled in when we needed him for academic processions and more. What a tremendous spirit has gone from among us!
I was one of the original choir members when they formed the SF Symphony Chorus. I believe at the time it was one of the first if not the first first permanent symphony choruses in the US. He was funny, extremely talented, and probablyone of the best choir directors I've ever sung for in 50 plus years of choir singing. He could get more out of a chorus, even one that could not read music, in 20 minutes that most directors never get in weeks of rehearsal. I was so sad to hear of his passing. I would give anything to just have one more rehearsal with Lou. Thanks Lou for all the wonderful music you did with us.
I was fortunate to sing with Lou for the entire 10 years (1974-1984) that he led the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. With his talent, humor, and high standards he turned the SFSC into a top notch ensemble. We had so much fun with him. The Chevy Show in 1976 that he put together and the annual Christmas caroling parties are particularly fond memories for me. I feel like I’ve lost a dear friend. Lou is sorely missed by all who knew him. RIP Lou!
I enjoyed many evenings at Kenyon Hall listenting to great entertainment you could rarely see elsewhere. Always looked forward to Lou playing the intermission on the Mighty Wurlitzer. My kids loved going there as well. RIP Lou. You're a hard act to follow.
I met Lou while a member of Total Experience Gospel Choir. We spent a great deal of time together, making beautiful music, traveling, working on humanitarian causes, laughing and living the good life. I'm so sorry he's not with us in the flesh anymore but he'll always be with us in spirit. Bless your soul Lou!!! Vaya con Dios...
Imagine what it was like growing up in Auburn, NE with a musical virtuoso as a classmate! From the first day of kindergarten until we graduated from high school, Louie was a great person to be around. Intelligent and witty, he had a tremendous capacity for living life fully. While he spent hours each day practicing piano and organ, he also had leads in many high school plays. The Mouse That Roared and A Man Called Peter are two that I recall. Louie enriched the lives of everyone he knew. I always felt a little taller, a little bigger when I was around him. So long, old friend.
Dammit. Dammit. Lou was such an amazing man and such a lover of the arts and such a mover and shaker. This breaks my heart. It just breaks my heart.
As our church’s music director Lou was far more than a choir director and musician. He embodied the spirit of the congregation. Pastors came and went but Lou was the continuity. This miserable past year with only virtual church and no singing Lou rose to the occasion by selecting such an enormous variety of videos with songs performances from every musical tradition that we all waited in some suspense each Sunday to hear what rabbit would be pulled from Lou’s magical creativity — Particularly the post service classic pop songs somehow involving coffee as a transition to Zoom coffee hour. I can’t imagine how our small church wound up with such a fabulous talent from San Francisco. But all those great pioneering techniques just kept flowing in full measure. Keep on keeping on Lou
Thank you, dear Lou, for all those kindermusik classes - for us: 2000 - 2003. It was so much fun to participate in your classes both for children and adults. Your sense of humour and your positive and energetic attitude created an atmosphere ful of joy and warmth. You are part of our most beautiful memories in the years we lived in the States.
Thank you! Antje, Germany
Louie was always comfortable in his own shoes.
We both lived in Auburn Nebraska. I got to know him in high school. He was incredibly talented and very kind. Deborah and I loved seeing him in Seattle. Rest In Peace. Too soon for you to leave.
I had the good fortune of singing in the SF Symphony Chorus under Lou’s direction for a few years in the late ’70s and early ’80s. He was probably the finest (and most demanding!) choral director I’ve ever sung with, and I learned so much from him; yet he was also a great human being and it was a lot of fun to be in his company. I remember our chorus Christmas parties at Grace Cathedral when we would go caroling on Nob Hill after partying for a while. Lou would lead us in singing carols, including "Frosty the Snowman"; we would sing the first line and then trail off because noone could remember the rest of the words. I haven’t had any contact with him for nearly 40 years, but hearing of his passing was quite a shock. I have been so moved just reading these lovely tributes & memories of Lou from everyone whose lives he touched.