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Apex Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Jane Murray Dillard

September 8, 1938August 23, 2020
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Jane was a native North Carolinian, born on September 8, 1938 in Roxboro, NC, 30 miles north of Durham. She was a graduate of East Carolina University with a B.S. and M.A. in Music, and taught at the University of South Florida for three years. In 1967 she married Noble Dillard at Providence Baptist Church, her home church in Roxboro, and immediately went to Europe on a Rockefeller Grant where she was a winner in several International Vocal Competitions. She and Noble lived in Munich for a year before returning to the United States in the summer of 1968 for performances at the Brevard Music Festival. During this visit back to the US, the doctors at the Duke Medical Center, confirmed that she would need surgery to remove an acoustical neuroma of the right auditory nerve. As a result of this surgery Jane was left with paralysis to the right side of the face and deaf in her right ear. This unexpected surgery forced Jane to cancel all European singing engagements, including the position of leading mezzo with the Nuremberg Opera. She and Noble returned to Roxboro for six months recovery, thereafter returning to Tampa, Florida to study with her former vocal coach to learn how to sing again. After two years of rehabilitation, she and Noble returned to her native North Carolina to perform, teach, and raise her family.

After settling in Charlotte, Jane became active with the musical scene, appearing with the Charlotte Opera in leading roles, with the Charlotte Symphony, and with the Oratorio Singers, and in recitals and other music programs. During that time, she was hired at Central Piedmont Community College as a voice instructor and director of the Opera Workshop. It was through contacts and performances that she became a sought after voice teacher in the Charlotte area. In 1979, Jane was offered a position at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she taught for over 30 years as Professor of Music, retiring with Professor Emeritus status. Jane was active in national music organizations having served as National Vocal Chair for the Music Teachers National Association, Regional Governor, and National President of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Jane’s teaching career was exemplified in the success of her students. Her voice students have won honors in competitions sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing, have been national winners in the Senior Artists Awards of MTNA, the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition, The National Federation of Music Clubs, and district and regional winners in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Students have appeared with national and regional opera companies, regional orchestras, and in Broadway productions.

Jane’s interest in music was stimulated as a child because of her family and their musical interest as amateur musicians who used their talents to sing and play in church and church related activities. Having musical roots in church music, Jane continued to serve faithfully, using her gifts and talents as a Minister of Music for 25 years at Sharon Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jane is survived by her husband of 53 years, Noble, of Cary, NC, two children, and six grandchildren: son, Brian Dillard and wife, Tracy of Charlotte, N.C., grandsons Patrick, Matthew, & Cooper and daughter, Stephanie de Jong and husband, Dennis of Apex, N.C.; grandsons Chandler, Luke, & Grant. Other survivors include sister, Barbara Day & husband, David of Columbia, S.C.

Due to COVID19 restrictions, seating capacity will be limited and masks will be required.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, October 3, 2020

Memories

Jane Murray Dillard

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Latoria Pergerson

October 27, 2020

Dr. Dillard was my Vocal Instructor at UNC-C during my tenure 1995-99. Although, I was a music education major with my concentration in piano, I was still mandated to take voice class. Personally, I had struggled for years to like my singing voice and always resorted to making excuses in order to avoid having to sing. Dr. Dillard saw through my facade and challenged me. Eye to eye, she would push me to do better every time. I specifically remember one private lesson session where she grew frustrated with me and she said "Latoria....mock me." I was nervous..and unsure about what she meant. But she continued on and told me to mock her singing voice and to try the musical phrase again. She knew that I liked a good laugh and we had shared a few together at different times. So I took the chance and I mocked her beautiful vibrato with all intention of having a giggle, but when I opened my eyes she was standing there looking at me in shock and gave me the biggest compliment. It seems the joke was on me...in my "mocking" of her singing, I had corrected my vocal placement and the sound that resulted was exactly what she wanted me to experience. I needed that self-confidence boost. I needed her reassuring smile when I took the stage for my vocal juries and ultimately my senior piano recital. I joined her Women's choir and the sounds that we were able to produce under her leadership, warm my heart with very fond memories. Dr. Dillard was more than a vocal professor, she was a kind, encouraging soul to those of us who were trying so hard to find ourselves, our talents, and our way. Thank you for sharing her with the world. I am sure that she is directing one amazing choir in Heaven. God bless and keep you.

Joanne (Jo) Belasco

October 1, 2020

I have loved singing since I was a little girl. When I was in high school, I had the extraordinary opportunity to train with an Mrs. Dillard. For two and a half years, she taught me, challenged me, and supported me. Those voice lessons made me love to sing even more. I can still picture standing in her home by her piano as she played and taught me beautiful techniques so I could be the best singer I could be. I still have my voice tapes somewhere! I will never forget hearing her sing the part of Mother Superior in the Sound of Music that Charlotte Latin put on when I was in 7th grade (I think). I looked her up online a few years and was so happy to see that she was still teaching. I was tempted to email her because I could never roll my "r"s when I sang with her. After living in New Mexico for two years, I finally mastered them! Today, on a whim, I did another search. My heart sank when I saw that she passed on August 23. She touched so many lives. I will always consider my time with her and all that she taught me as a blessing in my life. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Dillard, Brian, Stephanie, and the rest of her family. Thank you, Mrs. Dillard, from a grateful student.

Mike H. and Ronny de Jong

August 29, 2020

Dear Stephanie and family,

Our heartfelt condolences with the sudden loss of your mom. We are so thankful that we heard her beautiful voice a couple of times since we moved here.

Your dad, having lost his soulmate, must be devastated. How wonderful that you were able to have him in your house this whole week.

We are blessed knowing that you are so much like your mom and that you are continuing in her footsteps, a loving wife, mother and daughter-in-law singing to the glory of God. May He give you peace.

John Harrington

August 29, 2020

I am Jane's cousin. I remember when Steve and I were little and Jane was in Europe she sent Christmas calendar's to us from Germany. They were set up so that you opened a different door to reveal the next days date. We thought that was so cool at that time. She also gave me one of her old pair of basketball shoes that she had from High School. She was always glad to see and hear from her cousins, no matter the age difference. Family was very important to her. She will Be missed very much and I am glad that she meant so much to so many people.

John Harrington

Karen (Fredenberg)Bergmann

August 29, 2020

When I began taking voice lessons as a freshman at UNCC, Jane took me under her wing. I was completely untrained, unsure and terrified of singing in front of others. Within a year, she helped me to develop into a singer. I learned how to do things the right way. She was tough as nails, but she knew how to make you a better version of yourself. I am a much better singer because of Jane. My condolences to the family. Rest In Peace.

Jane McCoy

August 28, 2020

I give thanks for Jane Dillard’s life and legacy as an extraordinary teacher and as a mentor. She gave me the opportunity to teach at UNCC during the 80s and even let me use her studio. She showed a confidence in me as a young teacher which I didn’t have in myself. I count it one of the honors of my career to have worked with Jane. I will never forget her kindness to me. Grace and peace to her family.

Jeremy Collier

August 28, 2020

My heart is full of grief and gratitude as I heard about Prof Dillard’s passing. I am more overwhelmed with a profound appreciation to have known her and so frequently have prayed prayers of appreciation for God allowing our paths to cross.

Picture this: There I was strolling into Rowe Theater in 2004 with my French horn under arm—tentative, unsure but still walking with confidence feeling hopeful about my audition. I greeted the music department staff, announced and introduced myself only to be cut off dead in my tracks before I could get out the names my audition pieces (some études and part of a Strauss Concerto No 1). “Son, you’re a singer” interrupted Ms. Dillard. What?! I thought, can’t you see this French horn? My perplexed expression caused her to repeat herself “You’re à singer, you just don’t know it yet”. Persistent must have been her middle name because that’s exactly who she was. Weeks after the start of the semester, she made a point to stop me in the hallways of the music department to inquire when I was going to take her up on a lesson “start using my voice”. You see, Ms. Dillard never let you be anything less than who you were intended to be. She saw my truth, potential and straight through my fear. I had a voice— unused and powerful beyond measure. The voice I was trying so desperately to force to sing through another instrument. Luckily, she was persistent and refused to allow my figurative and literal voice to go undiscovered, unused, unpolished. I’m grateful to have had the time to make music with her. Beyond the melodies, rhythms, lyrics and text, she taught me emote and lift the words off the page. How blessed I was to know her, learn from hearing her stories, and making music with her during our lessons. What a gift she was to us all! Today I sing “Auf dem Kirchhoffe”, smiling from within hearing her voice saying “Son, start at ‘Genesen’ one more time” while both of us knowing it wouldn’t be the last.

Risa Poniros

August 26, 2020

Dear Stephanie and Family,
I send my heartfelt condolences for your loss. I have fond memories of working with you and your mom at Meredith College. I pray for your healing journey ahead. I'm so very sorry. May her memory be eternal.
Much Love,
Risa Poniros

Amy King Ruggaber

August 26, 2020

Mrs. Dillard was such an extraordinary artist, teacher, and human. I was her student at UNCC, and was, in the beginning, utterly terrified of her because she was SO strong, SO brilliant. An absolute force. I was certain I could never measure up. What I didn’t understand at that time was that she was also incredibly kind and genuine. She encouraged me as an artist and a person every step of the way.

Specifically, I remember that hers was the first class I had to return to on September 11th, 2001. The towers had just fallen and everyone was in shock. We all gathered in the Recital Hall, hugging and crying. When Mrs. Dillard arrived, we told her that, if she didn’t mind, we didn’t really feel like singing that day. She quietly replied that her son in law was a pilot and that he was in the air, and that they still hadn’t been able to communicate with him. She told us she needed us to sing to help her think of something else. One and all, we sang our hearts out for her.

I consider myself privileged to have learned from her, as an artist and a person. My deepest sympathies to her family, friends, and students.

Julie Little

August 26, 2020

What a wonderful tribute to your mother. We will miss seeing her lovely face at church. Stephanie, you and your family are in our prayer. In Christ love and care, Julie

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