Drake Choirpianist Tom Harvey was found peacefully resting in his arm chair Saturday afternoon by five members of the Drake Choir. Andrew Peters, Sam Pritchard, Lukas Olynyk, Jake Taylor and Nick Budden were sent to check on the pianist after he had been missing from the final two rehearsals before Sunday’s choir performance.
“Tom was last seen leaving from a Drake Choir rehearsal,” said Professor Aimee Beckmann-Collier.
After six hours of non-stop rehearsal, Beckmann-Collier informed members from all four of Drake’s choral organizations about the beloved pianist’s death. Harvey had no children but considered the Drake choir department his family. Beckmann-Collier recited a line from the Drake Chorale’s piece, “We Rise Again,” as students and community members wept in one another’s arms.
“We rise again in the faces of our children, we rise again in the voices of our song,” she read. In Sunday’s “Beyond Borders” concert, students were sure to let Harvey’s spirit shine through their voices and songs. The concert, featuring Drake Choir, Drake Chorale, Drake University Community Choir and Chamber Choir, was dedicated to Harvey.
Members of Drake Choir, including Kayleigh Koester, spent three days a week rehearsing with Harvey and got to know him as a friend instead of just a piano player.
“Tom was more than an accompanist,” Koester said. “He was more of an assistant conductor. He ran section work, collaborated with [Aimee Beckmann-Collier] on music and how we performed it. He had such a big personality. He would crack jokes and be goofy. His personality brightened up our whole rehearsal.”
No police report has been filed yet, and the cause of death is still unknown.
Photo: Connor McCourtney