Home Alumni Drake’s music community remembers accompanist Tom Harvey

Drake’s music community remembers accompanist Tom Harvey

News Photo
Tom Harvey

Tom Harvey, staff piano accompanist for several Drake University music
ensembles, died suddenly at his home in Des Moines on Saturday, Nov. 20 — the day before a major Drake choral concert.

After learning of Harvey’s death, Philip King, a junior music performance major from Winter Park, Fla., stepped up and offered to
learn Harvey’s parts within a day so the University’s choral ensembles could perform on Sunday, Nov. 21. The concert was dedicated to Harvey’s memory.

An organist by training, Harvey, 57, had been a staff accompanist at Drake
since 2001. He worked closely with voice students every day.

“One of the interesting things about him was how much of a friend he was to the students and how he made a connection to each student he worked with,” said Megan Gibson Barrett, AS’06, a music teacher at Winterset High School. “He had a lot of dedication to Drake, the students and the art of music.”

Barrett was one of about 20 Drake alumni who attended Harvey’s memorial service on Dec. 1 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. Many of the alums, including some who had traveled from New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City, took part in the service along with current members of the Drake Choir.

“It meant a lot to us to join with the Drake Choir in singing a tribute song during the service,” Barrett added.

Harvey was the accompanist for the Drake Choir, Chamber Choir and Drake
University/Community Chorus, as well as for students in several voice
studios and the Drake Opera Theater.

Aimee Beckman-Collier, director of choral studies, said that Harvey’s death profoundly affected the students who knew him.

“Tom was somebody who was part of the fabric of Drake students’ lives,” Beckman-Collier said. “He will be greatly missed.”

News Photo
Tom Harvey at a Drake performance.

“Tom was my accompanist and dear friend,” said Jon Edgeton, a junior
music education and journalism double major from Fairfield, Iowa. “He
taught me a lot about myself as a person and as a musician. I saw him
practically every day at choir or my voice lesson. As a mentor, he
understood people, what motivated them and what inspired them. He played
off that and inspired us all.”

Harvey also served as an accompanist for Elizabeth Moldovan, a senior music education major from Sac City, Iowa.

“He took music seriously, but he also knew how to have fun,” said
Moldovan, who performed a recital with Harvey earlier this month. “He
built relationships with students and professors, and he was a great
collaborator. Having the opportunity to work with him was an honor. He
helped us make the music the best it could be, and he would reassure us
when we were nervous. He was a credit to the music department.”

Harvey is survived by his mother, Harriet of Des Moines; sister, Kris Weyant of Truro; and a niece, Antonia Weyant.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Drake University Music Department.