It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing on November 6th of former Music Director and Faculty Chair George V. Rose. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his wife and former faculty member Faith Rose, and his five children: Rebecca ’73, Elizabeth ’76, Charles ’78, Thomas ’82, and Faith ’86.
Mr. Rose has been associated with The Waldorf School of Garden City since 1962 when he joined the school as the Head of the Music Department. In 1979 he became the High School Chair and served in that capacity until 1981 at which time he assumed the position of Faculty Chair, a position he held for over a decade. With the creation of the Faculty Council in 1993, Mr. Rose continued to serve the School in a leadership position until his retirement in 1997. “George Rose’s leadership in our School defined an era,” said Roland Rothenbucher, High School Chair. “The years with George at the helm were marked by George’s big heart and generous soul. He genuinely delighted in his students’ achievements in the classroom, on stage, and on the playing fields, and through his magical personal qualities the School became a beehive of cultural activities in the Garden City Community.”
Mr. Rose was an active Board Member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). Under his guidance, the School was successful in receiving several foundation grants, including a prestigious Edward E. Ford Foundation Grant in 1986 for music program enhancements.
Raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the gold-mining town of Lead, Mr. Rose attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he received his undergraduate degree and studied Voice and Conducting. Mr. Rose later earned a Master’s degree in Music from New York University. From 1953 to 1955, he served in the Special Services Division of the U.S. Army and conducted the Fort Dix Soldier’s Chorus on the ABC television show “Soldier Parade,” with Arlene Francis. During the late 1950s, Mr. Rose taught music at Brooklyn Friends School and the Great Neck Public Schools. He also was the Choral Director at King’s Point Merchant Marine Academy.
Throughout his tenure at the Waldorf School, Mr. Rose always taught music, and under his tutelage choirs from the school appeared in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, and other cultural centers. He made three European tours with the critically acclaimed Waldorf Singers in 1971, 1981, and 1994. The Class of 1997 dedicated the yearbook to Mr. Rose upon his retirement, stating: “Your contribution to the entire Waldorf community, including the special extension of your love to our class, have been priceless. This exceptional quality is something we hope to carry with us as we go out into the world.”
Mr. Rose founded The Waldorf Choral Society (WCS), which he conducted for 39 years. WCS first began rehearsals in the fall of 1964 and held its inaugural concert in 1965. He embraced the early music movement and established an annual two-day Bach Festival in the early 1970s. The festival featured reconstructed baroque instruments, which captured the distinctive, historic timbre of the period. He also conducted the Great Neck Choral Society for 21 years.
Mr. Rose was honored numerous times by his students and colleagues for his leadership and his ability to inspire students and musicians. During the 1999-2000 school year an endowed scholarship, The George V. Rose Music Fund, was established, in 1997 the High School Student Room was named in his honor by the students, and in 2004 he received the Franz E. Winkler Leadership Award at the Waldorf School Gala.
Mr. Rose will be missed for his devotion to the School. He shared his love of music, leaving us an enduring legacy and a gift that enriched our entire community. “We will forever be grateful to Mr. Rose for blessing us for so long with his remarkable talents. His leadership, his insight, his love, and his gift of song will always be remembered and cherished by our community. We take comfort in knowing that choirs of angels will now receive his legendary guidance,” said Trustee, Legal Counsel, and Alumni Parent, Jay Dorman.
Services were held at 10:00 am, Saturday, November 9th, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, 50 Cathedral Ave, Garden City, NY 11530.
Memorial contributions may be made to The George V. Rose Music Scholarship Fund in memory of Mr. Rose at www.waldorfgarden.org/donate, please select the above fund from the drop-down menu when making your donation.