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Nancy "Nan" Nall

Obituary for Nancy "Nan" Nall

November 3, 1944 - September 27, 2020
Weston, Vermont | Age 75


A beautiful Spirit transcended this world on September 27, 2020 when she passed away peacefully at the Springfield Hospital in Springfield, VT, with her devoted wife, Lise Messier, and a dear friend at her side.

Nan was born in 1944 in Prince William County, Virginia to Betty Thompson and Albert Nall. The eldest of four children she enjoyed a musical childhood where she began her early vocal career with her mother accompanying her at the piano. In South Bend, Indiana Nan attended Riley High School
and quickly rose to child star status singing leading roles in high school musical productions. From there she attended the famed Indiana School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana studying under Martha Lipton and Margaret Harshaw while performing with the select Chamber Singers, famously
known for their theatrical Madrigal Dinners. She graduated with a double Masters in Vocal Performance and Stage Direction.

In 1969 Nan's adventurous nature led her to accept a position in the Special Armed Forces Division which took her to Vietnam during the war. There she sang the role of "Louisa" in the musical "The Fantastiks", touring and performing for army bases throughout South Vietnam. It was during this time that she met and began her longtime collaboration with stage director, Barbara Owens. Together Nan and Barbara produced and directed an opera production of
Hansel and Gretel which they performed for the Vietnamese orphan children with a number of these children participating in the children's chorus. With Barbara at her side they lived and performed in Southeast Asia for two and a half years, singing many recitals for Chinese, Laotian, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese audiences.

Nan went on to perform in Teheran, Bogota, Bombay, Auckland, and Salzburg gaining a reputation for her distinctive programming and pure radiant soprano singing. She was soprano soloist for the Marlboro Music Festival, the Winter Park Bach Festival, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, the NYC Basically Bach Festival, the New England Bach Festival, the Masterwork and Dessoff Choruses; in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with the St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra and with Musica Sacra. Of her debut recital at Carnegie Hall the New York Times wrote "…one of the more impressive vocal debuts heard in New York City". She also performed in Europe with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus. In 1984 Nan was the recipient of a Solo Recitalist Grant
from the National Endowment of the Arts awarded "to recognize America's outstanding individual performing musicians". She combined her active singing career with teaching voice at Middlebury College, the Brattleboro Music School and privately at her Weston and Rutland studios.

Together with her new soprano partner, Lise Messier, their duo-soprano recital tours took them to New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago and throughout rural New England. In 1987 they formed the Brattleboro Opera Theatre presenting opera productions at the Latchis Theatre from 1988 – 1991.
With their move to Putney in 1990 Nan and Lise enjoyed their country life with their horses, gardening, traveling and the practice of Tai Ji with Cielle Tewksbury, while continuing their teaching.

Their collaborative partner, accompanist and coach Glenn Parker of Westminster Choir College, brought musical magic to southern Vermont with Glenn's incomparable vocal masterclasses featuring Nan and Lise's students. In 1996, as a tribute to Glenn's passing, an operatic production of "Dido and Aeneas" was presented in Gordon and Mary Hayward's reknowned outdoor garden featuring not only singing, but a drill team of horses from Brattleboro's Southmowing Stables performing in the adjacent field to the music of Purcell.

Their mission to introduce opera to children continued with their move to Weston in June, 1999, where they formed a new opera company "Opera Theatre of Weston" (OTW). From 2000 until 2015 they presented annual productions, primarily at the Weston Playhouse and at Rutland's Paramount Theatre,
including the Vermont premiere of "The Little Prince" and the East Coast premiere of "The Secret Garden".

Nan and Lise's vocal studios continued to prosper with numerous vocal student recitals, masterclasses and workshops. In 2008 Nan was diagnosed with MS. For 12 years she remained a spirited and musical force, inspiring and bringing her luminous joy and humor to all who crossed her path.

She leaves behind her beloved wife and caregiver, Lise Messier of Weston, her brothers Greg Nall of Greeley, Colorado and Robert Nall of Zionsville, Indiana, and her sister Carol Zimmerman of Tualatin, Oregon.

A memorial service and musical celebration of her extraordinary life will be held sometime in the next year.

Donations may be made to "My Community Nurse Project" at P.O. Box 57, Weston, VT 05161 and/or Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad at P.O. Box 91 Londonderry, VT 05148.

Services Pending. Please check back for further information.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • My Community Nurse Project
    PO Box 57
    Weston, VT 05161
  • Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad at P.O. Box 91 Londonderry, VT 05148.
    PO BOX 91
    Londonderry, VT 05148

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Brattleboro, VT 05301
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