Thomas C. Hardie II obituary

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of Thomas C. Hardie II.

Thomas C. Hardie II

Thomas C. Hardie II, a former director of Western Michigan University's choirs, died Nov. 15, 2014. He was 93.

Hardie joined the faculty in 1957 and retired in 1987 as an associate professor emeritus of music after 30 years of service to the University.

He initially taught voice and later also taught choral conducting. He was director of choirs from 1960 to 1972 and starting in 1969, he served for six years as the elected chair of the vocal instruction section.

Thomas C. Hardie II

Hardie also conducted the University Choir and the Grand Chorus from 1959 to 1973. The Grand Chorus, the University's largest choral ensemble, includes some 200 singers from WMU's three major vocal ensembles—the University Chorale, Women's Chorus and Collegiate Singers—as well as a dedicated core of singers from the University and Kalamazoo communities.

A baritone, Hardie had studied voice under Mary McCormick, formerly of L'Opera Comique in Paris, and under Myron Taylor and Anna Kaskas, of the Metropolitan Opera. He appeared in recitals and oratorio concerts in Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan. He also was director of music at the First Reformed Church in Kalamazoo for several years.

Hardie was involved in numerous professional organizations during his career. They included the Michigan chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, which he served as president from 1972 to 1974 and as a three-time advisory committee member.

In 1969, he was one of only 50 American conductors in ACDA to be chosen to participate in a choral seminar at the Academy of Music in Vienna.

Hardie came to WMU from Texas, where he had held teaching and conducting positions at four colleges, including Texas Wesleyan and East Central State colleges. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from North Texas State University in 1943 and 1949, respectively, and completed all coursework for a doctoral degree at Indiana University in 1956.

In retirement, Hardie lived in Chicago and continued to be active as a private teacher of voice. He returned to campus on occasion to lead ensembles during special events, including WMU's centennial celebration in 2003.


An open house to celebrate Hardie's life will be hosted by the family from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at Hardie's home in Chicago: 3100 N. Sheridan Road, Unit 9E, Chicago, IL 60657.


Memorial gifts may be made to the Thomas C. Hardie Choral Conducting Scholarship through the WMU School of Music: School of Music, WMU, 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5434.