Jack Frymire entered the eternal concert hall on May 1, 2023, at the age of 92, to be greeted by his wife, Ginny, and thousands of past devoted musical colleagues and students.
Born January 14, 1931, Jackson (Jack) Frederick Frymire was raised in a musical home in Cedar Bayou, Texas. Blessed with prodigious talent and a great tenor voice, he earned his BMus and MMus degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He soon joined the American Savoyards Opera Company, and while performing a lead tenor role in a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, he met a rising coloratura soprano, Virginia Carroll, who had just won an Arthur Godfrey talent competition on TV and toured the US. Their chemistry on and off stage was magical, and they married in 1954.
Soon, their New York music careers expanded, singly and collaboratively. Jack joined the faculty of Memorial Junior High School in Valley Stream, NY, teaching music, theater, English and Italian. Over his nearly 30 years of teaching, Jack continued to perform, conduct, stage direct, coach singers, and publish reviews and commentary, while Ginny’s opera career expanded. Often headlining together with the American Savoyards Opera Company, they also co-directed productions at Hunter College, New York City Opera, Village Light Opera, Music Theatre Wichita, and Highfield Theatre. In the mid-1960s, they co-founded Music and Artists Magazine, publishing Jack’s interviews with Aaron Copland, Beverly Sills, Franco Corelli, Dave Brubeck and others. Between 1973 and 1977, Jack directed 10 productions for the College Light Opera Company on Cape Cod. Jack and Ginny loved the adventure of travel in Europe, with a special love for Positano, Italy, and Devon and northern England.
In 1986, Jack and Ginny retired to Bellingham, with Ginny’s mother, Pearl. Jack soon became the music director of the Whatcom Chorale in 1987-88. Ginny began composing and participating with music organizations. By the 1990’s, Jack was a respected contributor of music reviews for the Bellingham Herald.
Over their decades in Bellingham, Jack’s influence was profound for several music organizations. The Whatcom Symphony Orchestra (today, the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra) performed three major concerts under Jack’s consultation, including their 1995 production of scenes from Strauss’ opera, Die Fledermaus, using his English translation of the libretto. In 2009, Jack wrote and produced the WSO’s tribute to Oscar Hammerstein titled “Something Wonderful.” In 2012, Jack wrote and directed the orchestra’s operatic season finale, “Bellissima,” spotlighting local singers, dancers, and the Bellingham Chamber Chorale. Jack and Ginny helped establish the Whatcom Symphony Endowment Fund at the Whatcom Community Foundation.
The WWU Music Department often benefited from Jack’s support. He was a longtime advocate for WWU’s opera program, culminating in a 2007 production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, using Jack’s English translation. In 2010, Jack led a community campaign to preserve the integrity of the WWU Music Library, which was slated to be incorporated into the campus library building – his activism and influence helped reverse the decision and strengthened the library’s presence in the Performing Arts complex.
Jack and Ginny joined the Bellingham Music Club (BMC) in 1989, Jack being one of the first male members of the 74-year old club. Jack served on the board, chaired the Program Committee for several years, wrote program notes, created the popular Night Beat concert series, and advocated for its vocal student award competition. When the BMC approached its historic 100th season, Jack spearheaded the planning and production of a spectacular Centennial Gala Concert in 2015, treating a capacity audience to performances by more than 19 former BMC Award-winning musicians and friends from around the world.
Jack was honored with a Mayor’s Arts Award in 2013, which cited his immeasurable contributions to Bellingham’s music and arts community.
Ginny passed away in 2019, and Jack is survived by his beloved caregiver, Kimberlee Minge, and many loving friends, colleagues, music community leaders, and former students. He will be remembered for his generosity, encyclopedic knowledge, irrepressible wit, personal charm and elegance, but mostly for enlivening and enriching the musical lives of all whom he encountered.
Memorial gifts can be directed to the BellinghamMusicClub.org, PO Box 193, Bellingham, WA 98227, or to Whatcom Hospice, 2901 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA 98225. Jack’s full obituary is also on Sig’s – where you can share your thoughts and sign the guestbook.