Saturday, June 28, 2008

Boots & Sneakers: A Farewell to Rob Ayotte

This still life, which I did in a college class, is rendered in oil pastel. It makes me think of a friend, who recently died, who had the largest sneaker collection I have ever seen. There were fireworks somewhere a little while ago, and a band is playing across the street. Now though, it's 10:30pm. It has grown hot and sticky. The dog is nervous because of the fireworks. The cat is ignoring us as usual. There are sirens downtown. And I am thinking about the Rob: Robert Bryan Ayotte /

Hometown: Tonowanda, NY / United States You can visit  RememberingRob  on Youtube, a channel setup in his memory at It includes clips of some recitals, some from his choir & soloists and selections from his Master's recital for SUNY Binghamton (NY) played on the organ at the First Presbyterian Church there.

  The late Robert Bryan Ayotte, who was Director of Music and Organist for St Mary Parish for seven years, died at home in his Danbury apartment, and was found on June 4, 2008. He was only 34 years old.
Rob earned music performance degrees at SUNY Buffalo and SUNY at Binghamton. At the time of his death, he was in the last stages of earning a DMA in Organ Performance from the University of Indiana at Bloomington. Through the course of his studies, his applied keyboard teachers included Roland E. Martin, David Fuller, Jonathan Biggers, Marilyn Keiser and David Smith. He was known for his devoted work ethic, his skill as a choirmaster and organist, for his dry sense of humor, his generosity of spirit, his willingness to encourage colleagues, his love of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, and for his enormous collection of sneakers and boots.

Besides his work at St. Mary's, Rob served as membership registrar at the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He gave his last recital on May 20, 2008 at a Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in Baltimore, MD, where he played on a one-of-a-kind antique pipe organ. His is survived by his parents, Peter and Joanne Ayotte, a brother Eric (Shannon), as well as a neice Devin and a nephew, Joshua. He will be greatly missed by the members of his choir, his music staff, his colleagues in the organists guild and other musical organizations he had worked with, by his many friends from college, the clergy and parishioners, his friends at St Mary's. Rob's Funeral was held at St Mary's in June, and later on July 11, 2008 his ashes were interred at St Mary Cemetery. Rest in Peace, friend.