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Music Library


Goodbye Joe Chouinard

Joe Chouinard

Joe Chouinard

The Music Library is sad to share the news that past employee and dedicated volunteer Joseph Chouinard died Monday January 6 2014. Joe’s volunteer work for the Music Library included all sorts of tasks that ranged from research to mundane things that freed the staff to do other things. His generosity of supplying his time to the Music Library was surpassed in 2006 when he made a substantial gift to the Music Library that covered the cost of completely refurnishing and carpeting the Music Library’s Seminar Room. He did not want his name on the room or any outward sign of acknowledgement but the room has been enjoyed on almost a daily basis by library staff and music department faculty and students.

Joe was an unforgettable character who will be missed. In addition to his volunteer work at the Music Library Joe also volunteered at the VA Hospital on Bailey Avenue. He touched many lives through his musical performances, knowledge of music, and sense of humor.

Joe Chouinard as a child

Joe Chouinard as a child


Joseph Jerod Chouinard was born May 7 1926 in Middletown, Connecticut. He served in the United States Navy immediately after graduating from high school, 1944-1946. Following his discharge he attended the University of Connecticut, graduating with a BA in Music in 1950. He stayed at the University to earn his Master of Arts in Music in 1951. Joe returned to school in 1969 to earn his MLS in Music Librarianship at SUNY Geneseo in 1970.

Joe Chouinard High School Graduation photograph, 1944

Joe Chouinard High School Graduation photograph, 1944


Joe continued his musical studies in 1957 and 1958 with Nadia Boulanger at Fontainebleau and in 1961 at the Summer School for Singers in Oxford, England.

Joe Chouinard at time of college graduation, 1950

Joe Chouinard at time of college graduation, 1950

Prior to beginning his career as a music librarian Joe performed extensively as a bass baritone nationally and internationally. He performed both as a chorus member and as a soloist, including performances at the Tanglewood Festival, Calvary Church in New York City, the Tri-Cities Opera Company in Binghamton, the Aspen Music Festival, the Florida International Music Festival, Columbia University, Arundel Opera (Maine), Theatre Under the Stars in Atlanta, Georgia, and with the University Opera Studio at the State University of New York at Buffalo.


Joe’s career as a music librarian included positions as Music and Art Librarian, California State College at San Bernardino (1971-1974), Music Cataloger, State University of New York at Buffalo (1974-1978), Music Librarian, State University of New York College at Fredonia (1978-1991), and Exchange Music Librarian at Royal Holloway College, Great Britain (1983-1984).

Joe Chouinard with composer Ross Lee Finney at premiere of Finney's The Nun's Priest's Tale, 1965

Joe Chouinard with composer Ross Lee Finney at premiere of Finney’s The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, 1965


Joe Chouinard (far right) in production of La Boheme


One Response

  1. tom putnam says:

    What a nice summary and what a nice selection of photos. Joe’s character was known well to anyone who knew him, known even if slightly to any new and brief acquaintance . . . he wouldn’t let strangers remain strangers, they remembered him at least for an hour more, they thought after one of those encounters that Joe was so adept at, Who the heck was that? It was said perfectly: a character . . . he at times might embarrass you, with a display of social courage that is so rare it seems rude, he never hid anything under a basket or wherever it is you hide things. You see he loved to talk, that’s how he got you, you had no choice, and then it was great fun, and you realized you were becoming a friend of a man who was a boy at heart. Considerate, awfully full of himself, yet still considerate. Coming home from an opera outing, we had to get a loaf of bread for my wife, and we did, and something else if that wasn’t thought enough. The Tom and Joe Show, I think John Bewley named our trips to Chautauqua. The first was most memorable (always is, isn’t it?). Not in this case the opera, nor the singing or the staging, but the drive there, on the Thruway, talking above the speed limit and being startled by the sign that welcomed us to Pennsylvania.