At a concert held in St. John’s Chapel earlier this month, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Community Chorus honored one of its own as it celebrated American composers. Former HWS music professor Lindsay Lafford P’65, P’71, L.H.D.’87 was among the composers featured; three of his anthems were performed while Lafford himself played the organ.
In 1929, Lafford began his music career as a pupil of Hereford England Cathedral Organist, Sir Percy Hull. He held positions at St. John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong, as well as at Princeton, Middlebury, and Washington University, St. Louis. In 1948, he joined the faculty of the Colleges as a music professor and soon became department chair. For 31 years, he taught music and directed the chorus with both extensive knowledge and passion. He taught his students that fine music is both a spiritual and intellectual practice and shared with them an astounding diversity of music. Lafford’s love of music brought joy to the campus and community, earning him the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2000.
At age 97, Lafford lives in Tempe, Arizona, where he continues to compose, conduct and perform. He drove across the country for the Community Chorus concert and continues to travel annually to his native land of England, Germany and places in between, to attend performances of his pieces.
Lafford’s love for the Colleges was passed on to his daughter, Julia Welbon ’65, who traveled to the concert with him. While at William Smith, Welbon was actively involved in the musical organizations on campus as a member of the Schola Cantorum, Little Theater, Motet Choir and Chapel Choir. A double major in anthropology and sociology, Welbon is now the academic coordinator in the Department of Psychology at Swarthmore College. Lafford’s son, L. Llewellyn Lafford ’71 of Penn Yan, N.Y., also attended the Colleges, majoring in art and music and participating in Little Theatre, Chapel Choir and the Wind Ensemble. He is a self-employed photographer, artist and web designer.
In the photo above, Lafford and his daughter, Julia, are seated on a bench overlooking Seneca Lake.