News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Obituaries

March 31, 2014

Harry Raglan Gee

TERRE HAUTE — Harry Raglan Gee, Professor Emeritus, Indiana State University School of Music, 90, passed away Monday, March 31, 2014. He was born February 20, 1924 in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Harry James Gee and Virginia Raglan Gee.  He is survived by his cousin, Mary Ellen Gee of Wayzata, MN; one son, John Claude Gee and his wife Mary Jane Gee of Land O Lakes, FL; three grandsons; and six great grandchildren.  

At the age of twelve, Harry began the study of clarinet with Earl Handlon, artist with the Minneapolis Symphony.  When he was seventeen, Harry’s first professional position was principal clarinetist with the Duluth Symphony Orchestra.  During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and eventually became solo clarinetist with the 56-piece 89th Infantry Division Band of the Third Army, under General Patton.  At the end of the war, the band was stationed in Rouen, 35 miles northwest of Paris, France.  Harry was fortunate to study with the famous clarinetist, Gaston Hamelin, who lived near Paris.  During his six months in Europe, Harry developed a life-long love of French culture and music.

After his discharge from the army, Gee won a full scholarship at the famous Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he received a Diploma in Clarinet.  A fourth year of study took him back to Paris, where he studied at the Conservatoire National de Musique.  While in France, he married Marie Louise Saucourt.  They were married for 58 years until she passed away in March 2007.

Harry was a member of the American Federation of Musicians for 53 years.  From 1950 to 1959, he performed with members of the Minnesota Orchestra for Sinfonietta tours and was a member and soloist with the Minneapolis Summer Pops Orchestra for four years.  Earlier he played one summer with Houston’s Symphony Orchestra, followed by four years in Denver, where he performed with the Denver Symphony and Opera Orchestras.  He also taught part time at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and received a Bachelor of Arts degree; later he earned a Master of Music degree at the University of Denver.   

Harry and Marie Louise came to Indianapolis, where he was invited to teach at Butler University.  In 1960, he was appointed to the School of Music at Indiana State University, where he specialized in Clarinet, Saxophone, and Chamber Woodwind Ensembles.  Over the years he participated in many solo and chamber music recitals.  He was soloist with the Butler University Orchestra, Purdue Symphony Band, Elkhart Concert Band, and on three tours as soloist with the ISU Symphonic Band.  Professor Gee played with the Terre Haute Symphony for 35 years and retired at the end of the 1998 season.  In the summers Harry was invited to teach at the National Music Camp, Interlochen, Michigan.  He also served as a guest professor at St. Mary’s College in Twickenham, England.  He was one of the American saxophone soloists at the 4th International Saxophone Congress in Bordeaux, France.  In the 1980s he played saxophone recitals at the universities of Ball State, Wisconsin, and Towson State. Harry served on juries for conservatories in France, Belgium, Canada, and several U.S. state contests.  Harry became very interested in classical saxophone performance as well as performing gigs at Hulman Center and with the Baxter Band, and he was music director for two musicals at the Community Theatre.  He was one of the Founders of the North American Saxophone Alliance and was elected in May 2004 as an Honorary Life Member of that organization.

Before his retirement from Indiana State University in 1992, four of his students won auditions to perform solos with the school’s orchestra and wind ensemble.  Many of his students became band directors, woodwind teachers, and professional musicians.  A few of these artists are Jim Perry, leader of the West Point Jazz Band; Shannon Ford, clarinetist and saxophonist in Toledo and Lima, Ohio; and Mark Conrad, clarinetist with the U.S. Marine Band.  After his retirement Professor Gee continued to teach younger students and to compose and arrange music for publication.

Professor Gee was internationally known through his numerous articles for professional journals which have been published in the United States, England, France, and Australia.  Over 260 of his musical compositions and arrangements for woodwinds and for band have been released by national publishers.  His two books, published by Indiana University Press (Bloomington), are Clarinet Solos de Concours (1981) and Saxophone Soloists and Their Music (1985).

Funeral Services will be conducted at 1:00 P.M. Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Central Presbyterian Church, 125 N. 7th Street with Reverend Lant B. Davis officiating.  Featured music will be performed on CD by former students and Harry Gee.  Visitation will be from 5:00 – 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 in Callahan & Hughes Funeral Home, 605 S. 25th Street.  The body will be cremated; entombment will be in the Calvary Mausoleum with Military Honors.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Professor Gee’s name to the School of Music, in care of the ISU Foundation, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN  47809.  Funeral information is also available at:

www.callahanandhughes.com

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