Victor Wayne Myrick, 62, music educator

September 04, 2005|By Jennifer Skalka | Jennifer Skalka,SUN STAFF

Victor Wayne Myrick, a music educator and a longtime organist and choir director, died Aug. 30 of kidney failure at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He was 62.

Mr. Myrick was born in Baltimore and started piano lessons at age 9, beginning a lifelong passion for the instrument and for music.

One of four children, he graduated from City College in 1961 and later studied music at the Peabody Conservatory, the Johns Hopkins University and University of Heidelberg in Germany.

He served most recently as the organist and choir director at Sharon Baptist Church in Baltimore.

"He was devoutly religious, and he just found that he could express his faith and beliefs through his music," said his brother, Kenneth Myrick of Upper Marlboro. "And that's what he imparted to other people."

Mr. Myrick devoted 46 years of his life to music ministry. He served as an organist and choirmaster at the Pennsylvania Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, a conductor of the annual Palm Sunday Musicale at the Lyric Opera House and music director of the Arena Players.

During a two-year stint with the Army, he was an accompanist for the 7th Army Soldiers Chorus in Germany.

Mr. Myrick was music department chairman at Carver Vocational-Technical High School and Forest Park High School, his brother said. He was the first tour organist for the Morgan State University Concert Choir, he said.

Looking to bring his music to a global audience, Mr. Myrick lived in West Africa from 1973 to 1975. While there, he served as vice principal of the Zion Academy in Monrovia, Liberia, and as a music director for the AME Zion Church.

Mr. Myrick was choir director of the Organist Guild and served for 13 years as musical director of the Pre-Convention Choir of the United Baptist Missionary Convention of Maryland.

In 2000, Mr. Myrick received an honorary doctoral degree in music from the Eastern Theological Center in Lynchburg, Va.

Hattie Smith-Shannon met Mr. Myrick in 1969 when she became a member of the New Shiloh Baptist Church. She was a singer, and Mr. Myrick was the minister of music there. A professional relationship bloomed. She would sing, and he would accompany her for decades to come.

"What made him special was he was so patient and understanding," Mrs. Smith-Shannon said. "He wasn't one of the temperamental-type musicians."

Kenneth Myrick said his brother was "a tremendous personality" who also had a way with words.

"His music just kind of consumed his life and that was what he was most comfortable in," he said. "He loved teaching music."

Mrs. Smith-Shannon said she believes Mr. Myrick would want to be remembered "as one of God's servants." She plans to perform one of his favorite hymns during his funeral service.

"You may build great cathedrals, large or small," she will sing. "You may build skyscrapers, grand and tall. You many conquer all the failures of the past. But only what you do for Christ will last."

A musical tribute to Mr. Myrick will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Macedonia Baptist Church, 718 W. Lafayette Ave. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the church.

In addition to his brother, he is survived by his mother, Verna Myrick of Baltimore; two sisters, Judith Myrick Perry and Vernita Myrick Ford, both of Baltimore; two aunts and an uncle; and three nieces and three nephews.

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