It is with deep sorrow mixed with gratitude that CMI marks the passing of our friend, Jan Schmidt, executive director of the American Federation Pueri Cantores. The Federation shared that she passed away peacefully this past Saturday night, February 29, in her home, following a courageous battle with cancer.
"Jan's remarkable gifts to the song of the church and to children, all of whom she invited to sing, will never be forgotten," said Charlotte Kroeker, CMI Executive Director.
Jan's fifteen-year commitment to the mission of Pueri Cantores and the young people of the Church has resulted in dramatic growth in the number of festivals, participating choirs and choristers, and by a valued collaboration with the National Catholic Educational Association. With her tireless energy Jan embraced the idea that the singing of profound sacred music could have a transformative effect on the lives of young singers. She wrote passionately on that topic, spoke confidently, and visited hundreds of choir directors to promote this mission and encourage the formation of Pueri Cantores festivals on the local, regional and national levels.
An accomplished cellist in her youth, Jan switched to voice and pedagogy studies in her undergraduate and graduate days, which impelled her to write her best-selling vocal pedagogy textbook, "Basics of Singing." Now in its seventh printing this anthology has been, for decades, the leading text for college courses in class voice and for beginners in private vocal study, presenting the basic principles of voice production, musicianship, song interpretation, and vocal health.
Jan is survived by a sister, Marion, two sons Mark (Heidi) and Bradley (Nika), four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Her loving husband of 49 years, Mark, preceded her in death in 2017.
It was her wish that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be offered to the American Federation Pueri Cantores.