On the wall of Russell Saunder’s office at Eastman, hung a photograph of his choir at First Methodist Church, Des Moines made years earlier. There must have been 70 members or so, a testimony to the great days of church music in the wake of the Second World War.
Russell was a master organ teacher. He knew how to inspire students to bring out musical lines, shape phrases, and to get the most out of a score. He always said that his free approach to playing came from Arthur Poister, though I suspect it also came from his many years conducting a choir.
Russell wrestled with his own set of demons, however, late in life he was attracted to the spirituality at the heart of the Anglican ethos. He was confirmed, along with me, at Christ Church, Rochester on February 3, 1980.
Russell Saunders with the Rev'd Anthony Charles "Bud" Thurston, Rector of Christ Church, Rochester, after Confirmation by Bishop Spears.
Photo: Nancy Cooper