Alexander PopeMusic the fiercest grief can charm,
And Fate's severest rage disarm:
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please:
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.
Alexander Pope, "Ode for Musick, on St. Cecilia's Day"
We regret to report the death from cancer on Tuesday of Larry Hill, 52, conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.
Hill, who was chaplain of Harvard University and a political activist concerned with civil rights and peace as well, regarded music as a part of his ministry. Hill's orchestra has done more than any other Boston arts organization to provide access to the elderly and handicapped. Hill not only arranged for the disadvantaged to be given free tickets in the best areas of the house, but provided them transportation to and from Sanders Theatre. The handicapped were regularly in evidence at Hill's concerts; with his music he made them whole again, and the warmth of playing he elicited from his beloved orchestra provided a healing and spiritually renewing effect on the audience as a whole.
The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra was one of the first participants in The Tech Performing Arts Series and has a regular following from MIT who are enabled to attend through the reduced prices. Unlike other participants, who generally only provide discounts on tickets they would otherwise be unable to sell, Pro Arte has supplied tickets even when they could have been sold at full price.
Hill will long be remembered for his dedication to community and generosity of spirit. His presence will be sorely missed, but he leaves behind an organization in which his spirit will continue to live; an orchestra which will entertain, refresh, and serve the community into the next century, proving that "Music the fiercest grief can charm, And Fate's severest rage disarm."