Edward M Grotkowski
June 20, 1954 – January 18, 2020
Edward Michael Grotkowski, age 65, passed away on January 18, 2020 in Gulfport, MS. He is preceded in death by his parents, Edward J. and Dot Nickerson Grotkowski; and niece, Tara Rose Grotkowski.
He is survived by his brother Jim Grotkowski (Doreen) of Diamondhead; special friend Carolyn Jasper of Diamondhead; two nephews, Jimmy and Hugh; and one niece, Gina.
Mr. Grotkowski was 13th generation of the Nickersons who founded the city of Chatham, MA on Cape Cod. He was also direct descendant of members of the Mayflower.
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Ed’s career spanned a vast array of experiences in various regions of the country. He held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Music, Music Education, and French from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts degree in French from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Miami in South Florida.
Additional graduate work in music was completed at Vander Cook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois and at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In recent years, he had been a student at the Graduate School of Theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.
He had taught in public and private schools for over three decades. His bands, choirs and orchestras have performed in venues ranging from Universal Studios in California and Florida, and the state championship football game televised throughout the state of Pennsylvania, to leading the Disney Parade in Florida and California, to televised Christmas specials broadcast throughout the Great Lakes region and Canada, to the Ray Martin Christmas Parade and band competition in Greenwood, Mississippi. In recent years, his ensembles had accumulated numerous First Place, Grand Champion, and Superior ratings. He has held conducting positions with the Erie Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Pennsylvania as well with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony in South Florida. In addition to his teaching positions, he had concurrently held Director of Music positions in churches throughout the country and has been a presenter for the World Library of Sacred Music in Southern California and liturgical conventions for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on several occasions. In 2007, it was his privilege to be invited to conduct the Louisiana State University Band in a special conductor’s symposium.
Mr. Grotkowski oversaw the construction, rebuilding, and enlargement of several pipe organs while maintaining an active performance career. He has performed organ recitals in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Florida, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Mississippi. For a total of 20 years he was Director of Music at Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi where he has conducted major works for choir and orchestra such as: Gloria by Vivaldi, Christmas Oratorio by Saint-Saëns, and Requiem by Fauré among others. In 2005, in celebration of the installation of the new pipe organ, Ed presented a series of recitals and concerts which included appearances by Dame Gillian Weir of London, England and Dr. Herndon Spillman of Louisiana State University. In 2005, he also hosted Dr. Stanley Michelski, Past President of the American Band Masters Association as a clinician for the East Jefferson High School Band. Ed led the East Jefferson Band in a tour of Southern California in May of 2006 and did the same in 2010. The band was selected from a field of national contenders to perform two concerts in Orlando at the National School Board Association Convention for an audience of 15,000 which included virtually every superintendent and board member in the United States. From 2006 until October of 2013, he directed the music for the evening mass at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Biloxi, Mississippi. Mr. Grotkowski taught for the last twenty one years at East Jefferson High School in Metairie, Louisiana, where he conducted the E. J. Marching and Concert Bands, Jazz Ensembles, Fine Arts Chorus and String Orchestra. He enjoyed teaching French I, II, and III. For seven years, Ed taught courses in Music, Music Education, and French as an adjunct professor at Nunez Community College in Chalmette, Louisiana.
In December of 2013, Ed led the East Jefferson High School Marching Band in the half-time show at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Championship Football game in the Superdome. On December 26, 2013, Ed led the choir of Our Lady of the Gulf Church of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi on a concert tour to Rome, Italy where he conducted and accompanied the choir for three performances. The first was at the Freizenkerk Church within the walls of Vatican City where the group provided all of the music for Sunday morning Mass in Latin, Dutch, and English. He performed on an organ built in the early 18th century. Later that night, he directed the choir in a performance of American holiday music and selections from the sacred repertoire at Al Casa Letto. Later that week, he and the choir were the featured musicians at the 5 pm Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Ed performed on the great Vatican organ and conducted the choir in a performance including music of Vivaldi, Arcadelt, and Mozart, and including Gregorian chant.
Ed held membership in the National Pastoral Musicians Association and attended conventions in Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. where he completed course work at the Gregorian Chant Institute taught by Father Anthony Ruff. He also held membership in Music Educators National Conference and associated affiliations as well as in numerous professional associations.
Visitation for family and friends will be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm at RIEMANN FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, 9113 Kiln DeLisle Rd. Pass Christian, MS. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Pass Christian, MS. Burial will be held at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
- Edward J. and Dot Nickerson Grotkowski, Parents
- Tara Rose Grotkowski, Niece
- Jim Grotkowski (Doreen) of Diamondhead, Brother
- Carolyn Jasper of Diamondhead, Friend
- Edward is also survived by two nephews, Jimmy and Hugh; and one niece, Gina.
- Graveside Service Saturday, January 25, 2020