In Today’s News

November 19, 2015

Mary Cheyney Gould

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 5.51.23 AMBROOKSVILLE — Mary Cheyney Gould of Brooksville died on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, at 3:22 p.m. at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, in Blue Hill.

Born Sept. 28, 1924, in Bluefield, W.Va., to Lulu Raft Cheyney and Clyde Irwin Cheyney, she was predeceased by her parents and her one sister, Elnora Cheyney Wickham, and her first husband, Boris Erich Nelson. She is survived by her son, David Irwin Nelson and his wife, Patricia, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; her two grandchildren, Courtney Rose and Drew Irwin Nelson, and her great-granddaughter Ayla Rose Nelson. Her second husband, George J. Gould, died in 1979 and is survived by two daughters, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

A lifelong musician, she studied piano under her mother’s tutelage from age 5 to 7, then going on to other teachers. She attended local schools through high school, when fine choral director Elizabeth Shelton stimulated an interest in choral music and arranged for attendance for three summers at the Westminster Choir College High School Clinic, then held in Massachusetts at Mount Hermon School. This experience caused a lifelong addiction to both choral music and New England from which she never recovered. It also determined she would attend Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., graduating with a BMus degree with majors in voice and organ in 1946.

She married Boris Erich Nelson in June 1946 and moved with him to various academic positions at the University of Massachusetts, Hampton Institute, Va., and the University of Toledo, Ohio. At each of these locations she held organist/choir director positions in various churches and temples, at one time in Virginia serving a Baptist church, a Jewish temple, and a Greek Orthodox church while teaching at Hampton Institute and conducting a community chorus, The Meistersingers, concurrently. 1957-58 was spent in Antwerp, Belgium, as a student of Flor Peeters, renowned organist and director of the Antwerp Conservatory. This led to many organ recitals in Europe and the United States.

In Ohio, she served at Episcopal Church for 13 years, taught organ and piano privately, performed with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra both as orchestra member and soloist, and played chamber music with various groups; and most importantly, formed a two-piano duo with Shirley Shafer Roe, an Oberlin graduate and fine pianist.

From 1954 to present, she spent every summer in Maine. From 1957 to 1973, she taught and performed organ and piano at the New England Music Camp in Sidney. In 1973, she moved to Brooksville, married George J. Gould, a retired Toledo, Ohio, lawyer and longtime friend and built a house for year-round residence. This home is on the Bagaduce River and it was here that she founded the Bagaduce Chorale in 1974. The Bagaduce Chorale is a community chorus of 80 to 90 singers who come from 18 different towns to rehearse and perform in Blue Hill. She served as a conductor and accompanist for 25 years, retiring in 1999 to become director emerita and to continue to serve as accompanist only. The love of studying and performing two-piano music was continued in Maine when she joined renowned pianist and conductor Fritz Jahoda in concerts over many years.

In 1983, she joined Marcia W. Chapman and Fritz Jahoda in founding the Bagaduce Music Lending Library, which had its first home in the house on the Bagaduce. In 1985, the Music Library moved to its present quarters in Blue Hill, where she continued to volunteer as music director until her death.

She was a nationally recognized croquet player and coached many who came to play on her home court.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Bagaduce Music Lending Library Capital Campaign, in Blue Hill.

There will be no immediate service, but there will be a celebration of her life. The details will be announced in the near future.

One comment

  1. Mary was an inspiration to anyone involved in the arts. Her talent, her warmth and compassion, and her brilliant mind infected all she did. She will be missed, but her spirit lives on in all of those she touched with her gifts.

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