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Lakeville, CT – Albert Coy Sly died Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015, at Noble Horizons in Salisbury, at the age of 92. He was born October 6, 1923, in Flushing, NY, son of the late Frederick and Alberta (Coy) Sly. He is survived by nephews Jack of Carnation, WA, and Warren of Bellevue, WA. He was married to Elizabeth Taber of Wallingford, CT, from 1963 until her death in 2007. Together, they raised many types of animals, including six litters of dogs (Collies, Great Danes, and English Springer Spaniels), horses and sheep. Their son, Frederick Herschel, died in infancy. Mr. Sly was also predeceased by his brother John E. Sly.
Mr. Sly began his musical studies at an early age studying piano under Janet Niles and Luis Harold Sanford. He attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City, graduating in 1942. He entered the Yale School of Music, but his studies were interrupted by World War II when he was drafted into the US Army in 1943. He served as assistant to the division chaplain of the 42nd Infantry Division in the European theater until his discharge in 1946. He returned to Yale after the war and received a BMus in 1948 and a MMus in 1949. He did graduate study in musicology at New York University, Harvard, and the University of Michigan. He studied organ under Luther Noss at Yale, Marilyn Mason in Michigan, and Marcel Dupre in Paris.
He was organist/choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ossining, NY, 1949-50. In 1950 he was appointed to the faculty of The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT, as organist and choral director. He also taught music history and theory, and supervised a dormitory. He resigned in 1970 and began a long association as Minister of Music at the Congregational Church of Salisbury, CT, a position he would hold for 45 years until his retirement on December 31, 2014. He also taught music appreciation and theory at the Torrington branch of the University of Connecticut from 1973-1987.
In 1970, Sly was among a group which formed Berkshire Hills Music and Dance Association, a concert presenting organization. He served as president from 1981 to 1997 when it ceased to function. He also served on the Board of Managers of Music Mountain, Inc. He was a co-founder and Dean of the Housatonic Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. After the group dissolved, he joined the Berkshire chapter of AGO.
Mr. Sly composed several works for male voices while at Hotchkiss, including arrangements of popular songs for the school’s Blue Notes, the score for the drama club’s 1954 production of Merry Mount, and arrangements for the Colgate 13 and Bruinaires of Brown University. He composed choral music for the Salisbury Congregational Choir. He also gave organ recitals in Providence, RI, at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, Riverside Presbyterian in Jacksonville, FL, and in Port St. Lucie, as well as in Connecticut.
Mr. Sly was a member of St. John’s Church from 1942 to 2002 serving on the vestry and as Senor Warden. He joined the Salisbury Congregational Church as a member in 2002.
A Celebration of Mr. Sly’s life will be held on Saturday January 30, 2016 at 10:00 am in the Salisbury Congregational Church, 30 Main St, Salisbury, CT 06068. Memorial donations may be sent to the Albert Sly Music Fund, C/O Salisbury Congregational Church, PO Box 392, Salisbury, CT 06068, or to the American Guild of Organists, 475 Riverside Dr., #1260, New York, NY 10115. Arrangements are under the care of the Newkirk-Palmer Funeral Home, 118 Main St., Canaan, CT.