Ray Vincent Adams, longtime resident of the Roaring Fork Valley and composer in residence with the Aspen Choral Society, died at approximately 10 p.m. on March 12 at the Parkmoor Village Healthcare Center in Colorado Springs. He was 60 years old.
Adams’ death followed a brief battle with two brain tumors, which were diagnosed at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction on Feb. 4. Adams was transferred to The Denver Hospice center in Denver, then to Parkmoor.
He passed away quietly, with family members at his side and friends nearby.
Adams, who lived in Aspen since the early 1980s, first came to the valley in 1976 after graduating from the State University of New York in Fredonia, where he studied conducting and was certified as a registered music therapist.
After moving to Aspen, he studied as a conducting fellow with the Aspen Music Festival and School, and participated in master classes with such conducting luminaries as Jorge Mester, Leonard Slatkin and Sergiu Commissiona.
A year after arriving in the valley, Adams began conducting annual performances of “The Messiah” by G.F. Handel, with a choir of local singers and orchestral backing.
After 35 years, the Messiah had become the oldest running holiday tradition in the valley, according to the Choral Society’s website.
Adams also became known for his original compositions of sacred choral music, which were performed by the Aspen Choral Society at diverse venues that included the internationally acclaimed Harris Concert Hall at the Aspen Music Festival grounds.
He was married and divorced twice, first with Laurie Loeb of Carbondale and later with Karen Nye of Aspen. He and Nye have a son, Spencer Adams, who currently is living in New York City.
Planning began before Adams’ death for a benefit concert to help his family defray mounting medical costs, now tentatively scheduled for late April. A celebration of his life also is in the early planning stages.
A benefit fund has been set up at Alpine Banks. Those wishing to donate should contact any Alpine Bank and ask for details on how to contribute to the Ray V. Adams Benefit Account.