top of page

photo by Terry Johnston

Tribute to Roger Nelson (1960-2017)

by Paul Austin - GRS Horn


April 10, 2017 was a day of sadness and reflection as members of the Grand Rapids community gathered at Westminster Presbyterian Church to pay their respects to Roger Nelson.


GRSMA was honored to have been a vital part of this service. We were not only performing as a tribute to Roger, but in support of our GRSMA colleague Linda Nelson. Linda's strength, presence, and grace never goes unnoticed by her fellow musicians, and we continue to keep her and the Nelson children in our thoughts during this time.


There is no question that the music for Roger's service was noteworthy. GRSMA musicians comprised a volunteer orchestra that performed much music throughout the ceremony, beginning with Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess" and ending with the final movement of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony "Pathetique". The program was requested by Linda and the Nelson family, and we participated in this best way that we could -- through making music together.


GRSMA members Jeremy Crosmer and Alexander Miller composed music specifically for this event, which truly showcased the talent of our group. Jeremy's "Elegy" for strings only and Ale's "In Memoriam" for strings, harp, and solo horn were especially poignant and moving. GRSMA is fortunate to have these gifted composers within our ranks who were able to write pieces on short notice and under these sad circumstances.


Roger had experienced many roles within the Grand Rapids Symphony, beginning as a per service musician in the bass section and ending as GRS Vice President. It will never be forgotten that he truly loved music and our profession.

photo by Terry Johnston

bottom of page