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OBITUARY

Dr. Fred Gustav Sahlmann Jr.

April 2, 1930September 12, 2021
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Dr. Fred Gustav Sahlmann, Jr. 91, of Lake Charles, passed away on Sunday, September 12, 2021 at his residence. He was born to his late father and mother, Fredrich Gustav Sahlmann Sr., and Annetta Johanna Sahlmann on April 2,1930 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a music professor at McNeese State University for 42 years part of which time he was Chairman of the Department of Music. McNeese honored him as Professor Emeritus in 2006.

Dr. Sahlmann made his first orchestral solo appearance as a pianist at age 15 with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He earned Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees at Elon University in North Carolina, Master of Music from Columbia University, a Fulbright Grant to study piano for a year at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. His teaching career began with eight years at Elon University followed by his appointment to McNeese in 1964. He was a founding member of the mixed chamber ensemble PASTICHE. A crowd favorite, he appeared many times as guest soloist with the Lake Charles Symphony with William Kushner conducting.

Equally gifted as an organist, Fred played for several congregations throughout his long career including 17 years at Saint Anthony and also his 30 year tenure as Organist/Choirmaster at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles.

He is well remembered and respected by the great number of students who studied piano, organ and/or music theory with him, many of whom are now wonderful teachers and performers who were influenced by his artistry and who continue to perform and to educate students nationally and internationally.

He was a member of the Lake Charles Piano Teachers Association as well as Louisiana Music Teachers Association (LMTA) for whom he served a term as president. He and his wife were honored as Outstanding Teachers of the Year by LMTA in 2009. He was an avid gardener who concentrated on growing and showing orchids. After retirement of 42 years from McNeese, he enjoyed playing bridge several times a week at the Lake Charles Bridge Club.

He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Dorothy Sahlmann; sister-in-law, Marsha Kushner of Lake Charles; brother-in-law, John Swindle of Garland, TX; niece, Laura Moise (Ed) of New Orleans; nephew, Mark Ford of St. Louis, MO; grand nieces and nephew, Nicholas Ford, Natalie Ford, Madeleine Moise, and Lily Moise.

Services will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on Thursday, September 16, 2021, at 12:30pm, with The Very Reverend Frances "Boo" Kay officiating. Visitation will begin in the church chapel, beginning at 10:30am until the procession into the church for a 12:30pm service. A reception will follow the service in Hardtner Hall for a time of fellowship with family and friends.

The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to Amedisys Hospice and LeeAnna Stevens Caregiving Service for their wonderful care they provided for Dr. Fred. In addition, the family appreciates their loving close friends, Donna Little and Lamar Roertson, along with many others.

Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.jehixson.com.

  • FAMILY

  • He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Dorothy Sahlmann; sister-in-law, Marsha Kushner of Lake Charles; brother-in-law, John Swindle of Garland, TX; niece, Laura Moise (Ed) of New Orleans; nephew, Mark Ford of St. Louis, MO; grand nieces and nephew, Nicholas Ford, Natalie Ford, Madeleine Moise, and Lily Moise.

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, September 16, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, September 16, 2021

  • Reception

    Thursday, September 16, 2021

Memories

Dr. Fred Gustav Sahlmann Jr.

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Jan Russell

September 20, 2021

I was a music student at McNeese from 1968 to 1972. Dr. Sahlmann was a great teacher and performer. I thoroughly enjoyed his theory classes. My specialty was voice, not piano, so I was always terrified when I had to play in front of his board exams. However he was always kind. I think it’s now safe for me to say that when I was a freshman, Pepe Bowden conned me into wrapping Dr. Sahlmann’s office over the weekend with many colors of toilet paper! Dr. Sahlmann knew immediately that Pepe was involved, but I don’t think he ever suspected me! He had such a great sense of humor and took it all in stride. Dr. Sahlmann will be greatly missed.

ABBIE fLETCHER

September 16, 2021

For a few years I was separated from classical music. There were reasons. A miserable experience with a teacher in another city resulted in failure and serious doubt about my musicianship. The greatest reason was the sudden death of my husband. The complexity and depth of classical music seemed to reach my grief like nothing else. I would listen and simply breakdown.

One evening I slipped into the back row of Squires Hall to hear Dr. Fred Sahlmann in a faculty piano recital. His playing held such strength and understanding of the compositions and his technique was flawless. He never let me down. I left emotionally exhausted but intact.

The next day I called him. "I want to study piano with you and work on a master's degree. Do you have room for me in your studio?"

I am tearful even now as a write this. - Since then, my whole life has been filled with great music and marvelous companions, for which I am very thankful. Fred Sahlmann was the lynchpin and necessary guide. Thank you, dear doctor.

Ross Wood

September 15, 2021

Dr. Sahlmann was a profound and formative influence upon my musical life. Fortunate to be his piano and organ student during high school, I benefited from his perfect balance of impeccably high standards and graceful good humor. He steered me toward undergraduate organ study at SMU and onward to his alma mater, Eastman. I could never have enjoyed a career in music without his rigorous preparation, encouragement, and support. We also enjoyed quite of lot of Latin orchid names together. In paradisum deducant te angeli, dear Dr. Fred. May Saint Cecilia welcome you there as a colleague well-met. Finally, condolences to Dorothy and family as you celebrate a long life well-lived.

Maighréad McCrann

September 15, 2021

We will never forget Fred‘s wonderful musicianship. Our best memories of the Brahms Horn Trio are with Fred in Lake Charles.
Our sincere condolences to the whole family from Maighréad McCrann and Eric, Ciara and Orla Kushner, all in Vienna.

Sue Enlow

September 15, 2021

I really loved Fred. He was a super nice man. Knew him from Bridge games, but he was always so very, very nice and a joy to talk and kid with.

Patrick Parker

September 15, 2021

Dr. Sahlmann was so very kind, gracious, and supportive. I appreciated his gentle, easy going, calm demeanor, which made him stand out in a crowd. He will be missed.

Kelly Babineaux

September 14, 2021

Such a wonderful teacher, mentor and musician. I learned so much from him and will always remember his perfect smirk! Rest in Peace!

Thomas Niel

September 14, 2021

As a professional church musician, I could have asked for no better early training than that which I received under Dr. Sahlmann's careful tutelage. In addition to being very knowledgeable about music in general, he was also gifted in human psychology.

While still in high school, he asked me to tackle a very difficult organ piece by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. I gave it a try and then returned to my lesson the next week telling him, "I think this piece is beyond my capability." He was encouraging and said, "No, it isn't, give a another try." I did as he requested, and arrived at my lesson the next week telling him the same thing. He remained undaunted and told me to give it yet another try. I came back the following week, basically having given up, to which he said, "Well then, let's see if we can find something you CAN play." With that, he put the easiest piece of music in front of me that a first-year piano student could easily sight-read. His methodology worked like a charm and I had that Messiaen piece learned in no time flat!

Dr. Sahlmann was a consummate musician, teacher, and friend. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him and had the privilege to learn from him and to hear him play. May he rest in peace.

Candiace Newcomer Fontenot

September 14, 2021

A great man many of us adored as our teacher, department head, accompanist, organist, mentor, and friend. He loved music beyond anything and his family and friends. I will never forget what he taught me as a student and a person at Mcneese State University. His humor was uncanny, with his talent and wit. I told him in my sophomore year at Mcneese that I had named my new cat after him. Fred. He asked why I named him Fred. I told him I named him Fred because he had orange hair like he did. Dr. Sahlmann just chuckled and his face was an, “Oh my, no she didn’t” moment. He knew he was one of my favorite teachers, so why would I not name my cat after him.
As a grad student, he had me teach his theory classes sometimes when he was out. This was a great honor to have done this on a college level. He knew I loved music and loved teaching as much he did. Having minds create from within new songs or works was a bond we shared. Form and analysis was where he knew I shined. He taught me so much about music structure to carry over to my musical compositions with Mr. Gates.
He loved my cakes, Italian cream cakes especially. He and Mr. Gates would take me out of my classes to go to their homes and bakes cakes for them for various parties.
I would often stand by my locker by the choir room listening to him practicing his organ or teaching someone. His foot work was amazing.

Thank you Dr. Sahlmann for every moment you taught the world and made it a better place through your beautiful music. You will always be remembered. ❤️🤗🙏🏻

Jason Caillier

September 13, 2021

This man was a legend to me! He was an amazing musician and an adored professor.

Going to McNeese as an 18-year-old and being away from home for the first time in my life brought some apprehension; but, Dr Sahlmann in all his ways brought a lot of encouragement. His manner of interacting with us was just perfect. He was a mentor and consummate professional, but also had the perfect sense of humor that made you know he cared. He treated us like family. I remember a conversation another friend and I had with him were we told him he felt like a Grandpa to us. He opened up a little and said he understood the feeling. It was a special moment. Of course when we asked to borrow “grandpa’s” car later, he smiled and denied that request “for the time being.” Lol

Probably the biggest confidence builder in my life was when he invited me to take piano lessons with him after I finished my class courses. I enjoyed those weekly lessons so much; not only for the music learning, but more so for the opportunity to interact with him. I cherish the memories I have of him and only regret not having been in college longer and taking more lessons with him!

May you rest in peace and remain in our hearts forever.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
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FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Dr. Fred Gustav Sahlmann, Jr. 91, of Lake Charles, passed away on Sunday, September 12, 2021 at his residence. He was born to his late father and mother, Fredrich Gustav Sahlmann Sr., and Annetta Johanna Sahlmann on April 2,1930 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a music professor at McNeese State University for 40 years part of which time he was Chairman of the Department of Music. McNeese honored him as Professor Emeritus in 2006.

Dr. Sahlmann made his first orchestral solo appearance as a pianist at age 15 with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He earned Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees at Elon University in North Carolina, Master of Music from Columbia University, a Fulbright Grant to study piano for a year at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. His teaching career began with eight years at Elon University followed by his appointment to McNeese in 1964. He was a founding member of the mixed chamber ensemble PASTICHE. A crowd favorite, he appeared many times as guest soloist with the Lake Charles Symphony with William Kushner conducting.

Equally gifted as an organist, Fred played for several congregations throughout his long career, most notably his 30 year tenure as Organist/Choirmaster at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles.

He is well remembered and respected by the great number of students who studied piano, organ and/or music theory with him, many of whom are now wonderful teachers and performers who were influenced by his artistry and who continue to perform and to educate students nationally and internationally.

He was a member of the Lake Charles Piano Teachers Association as well as Louisiana Music Teachers Association (LMTA) for whom he served a term as president. He and his wife were honored as Outstanding Teachers of the Year by LMTA in 2009. He was an avid gardener who concentrated on growing and showing orchids. After retirement of 42 years from McNeese, he enjoyed playing bridge several times a week at the Lake Charles Bridge Club.

He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Dorothy Sahlmann; sister-in-law, Marsha Kushner of Lake Charles; brother-in-law, John Swindle of Garland, TX; niece, Laura Moise (Ed) of New Orleans; nephew, Mark Ford of St. Louis, MO; grand nieces and nephew, Nicholas Ford, Natalie Ford, Madeleine Moise, and Lily Moise.

Services will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on Thursday, September 16, 2021, at 12:30pm, with The Very Reverend Frances "Boo" Kay officiating. Visitation will begin in the church chapel, beginning at 10:30am until the procession into the church for a 12:30pm service. A reception will follow the service in Hardtner Hall for a time of fellowship with family and friends.

The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to Amedisys Hospice and LeeAnna Stevens Caregiving Service for their wonderful care they provided for Dr. Fred. In addition, the family appreciates their loving close friends, Donna Little and Lamar Roertson, along with many others.