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Jon Curtis Spong


Posted By: Tara (email)
Date: 7/2/2009 at 12:32:30

Jon Curtis Spong, 320 East Washington Street, Iowa City, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on 5 December 1933, son of Emil John Spong and Jennie Charlotte Gustafson Spong. He died in Iowa City on 11 November 2006. Jon graduated from East High School in Des Moines, and received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Drake University, Des Moines. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Grandview College, Des Moines in 1990. At Drake, Jon studied composition with Dr. Francis J. Pyle, organ with Dr. Frank B. Jordan, and voice with Andrew White.

Jon Spong held combined organist/choirmaster positions in many churches, including First United Methodist Church in Des Moines, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Des Moines, First Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and First United Methodist Church in Iowa City. He also held college teaching positions at Washington State University in Pullman, Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in Ohio, Drake University in Des Moines, and Luther College in Decorah.

From 1964 to 1999 Jon Spong was the primary concert accompanist for Sherrill Milnes, baritone with leading opera houses in the United States and Europe, in concerts throughout the world. With Milnes, he recorded on RCA, VAI-Audio, and New World labels, and with Todd Thomas, operatic baritone from Philadelphia on Diadem Records. While at the Cincinnati Conservatory, Jon accompanied Andrew White on recital tours throughout the United States, in Southeast Asia, and in Israel. He has coached the Young Artists program and conducted Master Classes with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.

Jon Spong was a noted composer, with numerous published organ solos and anthems of sacred music from ten publishers, including Cantate Music Press, MorningStar Music Publishers, and Lorenz Publishing Company. Selections of his organ compositions have been recorded by Alan Morrison on ACA and DTR labels. He has also composed musical settings for numerous poems, to be performed as church and recital solos. Jon toured as an organist, giving recitals emphasizing compositions by U.S. composers. He played the premier performance of Myron J. Roberts' Nova, and played the first performance of several compositions by Alice Jordan. He gave numerous church organ dedicatory programs, as well as recitals for state, regional, and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists.

A memorial service for Jon Curtis Spong is pending. There will be no visitation. Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service is handling arrangements. Memorials may be made to the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, 1120 Second Avenue S.E., Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403.


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