Long-time University of Akron Music Director collapses during Ju - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Long-time University of Akron Music Director collapses during July 4th performance, later dies

Robert D. Jorgensen (Source: freedombrassband.com) Robert D. Jorgensen (Source: freedombrassband.com)
AKRON, OH (WOIO) -

The July 4th performance at Akron's Lock 3 Park was unforgettable but not for reasons one might assume.  An extremely sad event marred the concert,  leaving the audience and performers in disbelief.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that during the event, Robert D. Jorgensen, the former musical director of The Freedom Brass Band, collapsed while leading the band.  Sources say he later died around 10:30 p.m. at Summa Akron City Hospital, after suffering from an apparent heart attack.

The University of Akron President Scott Scarborough released a statement Sunday afternoon: 

"The entire University of Akron community is saddened to learn of the passing of Robert Jorgensen, the esteemed professor of music emeritus and director of bands emeritus at the university. Bob was a dedicated and devoted band director, with an ability to connect with the students, encouraging them to be the best they could be, both in the band and as individuals. His care and concern for them was legendary. We join in sending our deepest condolences to his wife, Anne, and their daughter, Laura."

The following message was posted to the band's Facebook page:

"The Freedom Brass Band of Northeast Ohio is very deeply saddened to announce the passing of our musical director, Robert D. Jorgensen. Mr. Jorgensen served the band since the fall of 2006, and was dedicated to leading the band in truly exceptional performances. He was also Director of Bands Emeritus at the University of Akron, where he served for 26 years. In memory of Mr. Jorgensen, the band will perform our concert this evening at Copley Circle at 7 PM. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Jorgensen's family at this difficult time."

The band's website included detailed biographical information about Jorgensen's career:

"In 2013, Professor Robert D. Jorgensen retired from The University of Akron School of Music, where he held the titles of Director of Bands, Professor of Music, and Assistant Director of the School of Music. During his 26-year tenure at Akron, The University of Akron Symphonic Band was invited to perform at .eleven conferences of the Ohio Music Education Association, the 1992 conference of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) in East Lansing, Michigan, the 1998 CBDNA conference in Kansas City, Missouri, the 2003 American Bandmasters Association Convention at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, and the 2004 CBDNA conference at the Cincinnati Conservatory/College of Music. The Symphonic Band also performed at Severance Hall in Cleveland in April 2003, followed by a 2008 tour of several European countries."

The University of Akron School of Music posted on their Facebook page

"We are heartbroken to inform you of the passing of our colleague and friend, Professor Emeritus Robert Jorgensen. We will share funeral arrangements as they become available. Please keep his wife, Anne, daughter, Laura, and the Jorgensen family in your thoughts and prayers. He will be deeply missed."

For Jorgensen's full bio CLICK HERE.

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