IHOSE header

"a remarkably rich tenor voice" [VALL]

It came as a great surprise and shock to to receive notice of the passing of Bruce Montgomery, BSI ("The Red Circle") on Saturday, June 21. He was, for many years, the voice and spirit of the Baker Street Irregulars annual dinner in New York, where he would invariably sing the BSI's unofficial anthem, "Aunt Clara."

Monty, as he was known by all (a name we both shared) picked up where his father, James Montgomery, BSI ("The Red Circle") left off. The elder Montgomery was also a gifted tenor and provided musical entertainment during the BSI's early years. He passed away very suddenly and very prematurely in 1955, as his Christmas Annual was being printed. As a side note, I actually own a copy of that annual, with a note from Jim's wife:
"My husband died very suddenly on November 9th. It was his expressed wish, however, that I should get out this little booklet in the envelopes which he had already addressed."
Constance P. Montgomery
Christmas, 1955
Like his father before him, Monty was a victim of heart failure - which is ironic, because he had a big heart that was dedicated to bringing joy to all around him. A more upbeat and friendly man I have yet to meet. He brought his special variety of joy in a variety of settings, from the University of Pennsylvania Glee Club (which he brought to a BSI dinner one year), to the Gilbert & Sullivan Players of Philadelphia, to the artwork he took up upon his retirement.

An example of his artwork, which for a time could be ordered as notecards, reminds us of one of the illustrations from "The Lion's Mane":

Thankfully, Monty's contributions will not be forgotten. His artwork lives on and the Bruce Montgomery Foundation for the Arts has been established in his memory.

And of course his voice will live on in the BSI's archives - which will now include digital media. And you can hear Bruce give his last BSI performance, recorded at the BSI dinner in New York City on January 11, 2008.

We were honored to stand in his presence on a number of occasions and share the microphone with him. While our singing voice is fairly good, it paled in comparison to the consummate professional who stood beside me. Good night, Monty. You'll be terribly missed.

You can read his obituary here.

Do you have your own memories of Bruce Montgomery? Please share them as a comment below.