Eaton, Richard

Richard (Stephen) Eaton. Organist-choir master, educator, composer, b Victoria, BC, 16 Jan 1914, d Rhodes, Greece, 25 Jan 1968; Licentiate (McGill) 1939, B MUS (McGill) 1942. He took his first lessons in Victoria, where he was a choir boy and, 1930-5, assistant organist at Christ Church Cathedral. In 1936 he went to Montreal to study at McGill University, where his teachers included Champagne. In Montreal he was organist-choirmaster at St Martin's Church. In Toronto 1939-44 he was a music master at Upper Canada College. In Ottawa 1944-7 he was director of instrumental music at Ottawa Technical High School and organist-choirmaster at McLeod United Church. In 1947 he joined the University of Alberta, Edmonton, serving as lecturer in the music division of the Dept of Fine Arts and 1948-65 as head of the division. When in 1965 it became the Music Dept, he was appointed head.

During Eaton's tenure music activities at the university were greatly expanded. In addition, he was an active director, 1947-68, of the Alberta division of the WBM. He also was on the boards of the Edmonton Opera Association and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Throughout his Alberta years he conducted the University of Alberta Mixed Chorus, which brought music to rural Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and northwestern British Columbia. He founded the University Singers in 1951 and conducted them until 1967. In 1968 they were renamed the Richard Eaton Singers in his memory. Eaton composed many anthems and arranged a number of folksongs including 'Blest Are the Pure in Heart' (Oxford 1943), 'O Holy Spirit, Lord of Grace' (BMI Canada 1954), and 'Three French-Canadian Folksongs' (BMI Canada 1958).