Around Myers Hollow
Internationally recognized Wittenberg choir director leaves legacy
The Rev. L. David Miller, former dean of Wittenberg University’s
School of Music, professor of music and famed choir director, died May
21 at the age of 84.
During Miller’s tenure at Wittenberg from 1955 to1978, the School
of Music became one of the top programs among small colleges in the nation.
At its height, the school had more than 175 majors, and the music faculty
represented some of the finest musicians and scholars in any school of
Wittenberg’s size in the United States.
Under Miller’s leadership, the academic program also expanded to
embrace not only liturgical and western traditions but the diverse music
of the world.
Miller also spearheaded the effort to design and build Krieg Hall, which
has been Wittenberg’s music home since its completion in 1967. In
addition, Miller successfully helped raise the funds necessary to finance
and equip the building, placing not only the music program, but also the
facilities at Wittenberg in the forefront of similar institutions.
The Wittenberg Choir under Miller’s direction also received international
acclaim. Wittenberg choir members logged 67,500 miles, giving concerts
in 29 countries and five continents under Miller’s direction from
1961 to 1972. The choir was heard weekly on national radio broadcasts
After leaving Wittenberg in 1977, Miller, who once said that “the
best years of his professional life were spent at Wittenberg,” became
professor of sacred music at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in
Columbia, S.C., where he remained until his retirement.
In 1999, Wittenberg honored Miller’s significant contributions by
awarding him the prestigious Canticum Novum Award. The award, which means
“New Song” in Latin, is given to musicians who have advanced
music through composition, performance or leadership.
During Commencement exercises in 2001, the university again recognized
Miller in absentia with its Medal of Honor, given to those individuals
who demonstrate sensitivity to the university’s needs and aspirations,
loyal service and a dedication to Wittenberg as a liberal arts institution.
“As a Lutheran pastor, church musician, composer, educator and visionary,
L. David touched the lives of countless people across this country,”
said Trudy Faber, professor of music and department chair.
“He was a ‘people-person’ who could charm young and
old, especially the old. As one friend once said, ‘Knowing him was
an occasion of grace.’”
Miller is survived by two daughters, Anita and Andrea, and a sister, Frances.
As part of Alumni Weekend, the Wittenberg community remembered Miller
with a memorial service, June 15.
For more on Miller’s life, career and accomplishments, log on to
Wittenberg’s Web page at www.wittenberg.edu.
Wittenberg Magazine P.O. Box 720 Springfield, Ohio 45501-0720
Phone: (937) 327-6141 Fax: (937) 327-6112