Harry D. Mason, age 79, peacefully departed his earthly life on Sunday, November 7, 2010. The son of the late Harry D. and Louise (Meinke) Mason, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 15, 1931. He was a veteran of the Korean War serving in the U.S. Army in Germany. Harry, a beloved, retired music teacher earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music. He did graduate work at Miami University and received his Master of Arts degree from Indiana State University. In addition he studied professionally and was associated with Robert Shaw, Louis Lane, Burton Garlinghouse, Richard Roswell, James Angle and Varner Chance. His teaching career spanned more than five decades. In 1955 he began teaching in the Bedford City School System, Bedford, Ohio, as a vocal music director. In 1960 he moved to Newark, Ohio where he was the choral instructor for the Newark Senior High School. It was in 1964 that he came to Canton to be the director of choral music at Lincoln High School, Canton City Schools until the closing of Lincoln in 1976. During his tenure at Lincoln, he was also the city-wide choral supervisor where he organized the first annual All-City Choral Festival, including direction of all four Canton City High Schools. The All-City Elementary Music Festival, comprised of 26 elementary schools, came under his direction also.
The Lincoln High School Choir appeared on radio and television and recorded 22 stereo record albums. He continued his work in the Canton City School District when he went to McKinley Senior High School in 1976 as the choral music director. In 1978 he became department chairman and director of choral music at Hoover High School in North Canton until his retirement in 1985. While in North Canton the Hoover Hi-Lows, a select vocal ensemble made 150 appearances. He continued to be a substitute teacher in the choral music department in the North Canton City Schools. He taught private lessons in voice, piano and theory in North Canton. For 11 years he hosted an annual spring voice and piano recital at the North Canton Community Christian Church. His musical career was not limited to public education as he was the director of music at several churches including Zion United Church of Christ in North Canton and Garfield Heights Methodist Church in Garfield Heights, Ohio. He was a tenor soloist for the First Church of Christ Scientist in Canton and for The Trinity Episcopal Church in Newark, Ohio. At Epworth Forest Choir School in North Webster, Indiana he was a tenor soloist and assistant to Varner M. Chance, director. He was honored to have been a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Robert Shaw, conductor. Another highlight in his life was performing with the Cleveland Orchestra Pops Chorale, Louis Lane, conductor. More musical accolades were given to him in leading roles with the Cain Park Theater, Cleveland in BRIGADOON CAROUSEL, THE MERRY WIDOW, VAGABOND KING, WONDERFUL TOWN AND NAUGHTY MARIETTA. His musical expertise and professional background lead to numerous guest solo performances in the following oratories: THE MESSIAH, Huntington Messiah Choral Society, Huntington, Indiana, Clyde Slater, conductor; THE MESSIAH, Washington Senior High School, Massillon; THE CREATION-Haydn, THE CHRISTMAS ORATORIO, Saint-Saens, THE CRUCIFIXION, Stainer and THE ELIJAH, Mendelsson. He played the leading role Faust in the opera, FAUST at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He was a popular soloist for lodges, clubs, churches and musicals. Mr. Mason produced and directed countless musicals, his favorites being OKLAHOMA, HELLO DOLLY, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, SOUTH PACIFIC and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. He was an esteemed adjudicator for voice and choral groups for the Ohio Music Education Association as well as a guest choral conductor on numerous occasions including Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa; High School Chorus Festival, Northwestern Pennsylvania District; Fine Arts Festival, Tuscarawas County Public Schools, Garaway High School, Elementary Vocal Festival Perry Public Schools: Festival of Faith, Canton Memorial Auditorium; and most recently for the annual Spring Music Festival in North Canton. His musical experiences also included a European concert tour in 1966. He was the guest choral conductor for the School Chorus of America performing in France, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Germany, England and New York City. Harry was the recipient of many recognitions and honors beginning with a first place in classical division in the All Army Singing Contest in the European Theater, Germany; Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contribution for Vocal Music in Newark, Ohio by Kiwanis International; Jennings Scholar in 1966-67; Lincoln High School A Cappella Choir Appearance: District VIII OMEA Conference; guest clinician, vocal demonstration, District VIII Conference, Mt. Union College, Alliance, Ohio; Teacher of the Month, North Canton City Schools; winner of the Hector Olivera Award honoring the Stark County Area's Most Outstanding Artists and Musicians whose contribution through performance, service and education has enhanced the cultural aspect of the entire community. Mr. Mason was a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Ohio Music Association, Ohio Education Association and past president of Stark County Music Educators Association. His academic honors included Phi Mu Alpha, Sinfonia Fraternity, Beta Phi Chapter. Survivors include his nephews Keith M. (Kathleen) Baksa of Glastonbury, CT, Jay M. (Vicki) Baksa of Gillroy, CA his cousin, June Reading of North Canton and his special friends and caretakers, Paul and Linda Snyder. He was an extraordinary music teacher and so much more. He taught his students correct vocal technique while exposing them to varied musical literature, but he also taught valuable lessons in life dealing with positive attitudes and excellence. He believed if anything is worth doing, it was worth doing well. His classes were challenging, memorable and fun. Harry D. Mason will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by his legion of friends and former students. "In giving, We Receive" and it was in his giving that so many truly received. Funeral services will be conducted at 10 a.m. Friday in the Reed Funeral Home North Canton Chapel with Pastor Richard Paul Williams officiating. Visitation will be Thursday from 2 - 4 and 7 - 9 p.m. in the funeral home. Burial will be in Brookdale Cemetery Elyria, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, donatons may be made to the Vocal Music Department of North Canton High School or the Canton Lincoln High School Alumni Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 20192, Canton, OH 44701. Harry's family and friends would like to give their heartfelt thanks and recognition to Harbor Light Hospice Care and the staff of the Windsor Medical Center. Those wishing to share their condolences or a fond memory may sign the Reed On-Line Guestbook at