Donald R. Reber, 89, of Cumru Township, passed away on Thursday, July 29, 2021, in his home. He was the husband of Marie S. (Noecker) Reber with whom he celebrated 58 years of marriage. Born in West Reading, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late Raymond W. and Helen (Griesemer) Reber. A graduate of Reading Senior High School in 1949, Don graduated in 1953 from the former West Chester State Teachers College (now West Chester University) with a B.S. in Music Education. Don was a veteran of the Korean War, having served with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. in 1953-1955. He received a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey in 1957 and a Diploma in Organ and Choral Conducting in 1960 from the American School of Music in Fontainebleau, France. Don was a student of Nadia Boulanger, one of the most influential music teachers of the 20th century. He was an active student choral conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass. in 1961 and did further graduate work at Temple University. As a member of the Westminster Symphonic and Tanglewood Music Festival Choirs, Don had the opportunity to perform in concerts in New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphonys under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Guido Cantelli, Aaron Copland, Charles Munch, and Bruno Walter. He started his teaching career in the Marple-Newton School District in 1953. Don was a teacher at Northwest Junior High School (now Northwest Middle School) in Reading from 1957-1965, and was the Director of Music in Reading School District from 1965-1992; the year of his retirement.
Don served as an organist - choir director for 60 years at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Calvary United Church of Christ, First Presbyterian Church in Reading, Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, and at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Sinking Spring. He started the Reading area "Sing Messiah" program in 1976 and conducted these events for 31 years. Don was a past president of the Music Club of Reading and Dean of the Reading Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He founded the Reading Madrichor Ensemble in 1970 which presented choral concerts for local organizations and at the Reading Public Museum. A larger group called the Madrichor Chamber Choir performed 17 different times with the Reading Symphony Orchestra. Don was a past conductor of the Lebanon County Choral Society. Throughout his career, he conducted more than 60 major choral works. Don was an honorary member on the boards of the Reading Symphony Orchestra and Reading Musical Foundation, and served many years as chairman of the Reading Public Museum Concerts.
In addition to his wife, Don is survived by his children; Greg D. Reber, husband of Kim, and Anne M. Mays, wife of Scott. He is also survived by six grandchildren; Kelsey, Ryan, Jessica, Kaitlyn, Ashley, and Joy; and four step-granddaughters, Whitnie, Britnie, Stacie, and Stephanie Mays. Don was predeceased by his sister Violet M. (Reber) Gring.
Visitation with family and friends will be held on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with services beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. 2100 Perkiomen Avenue Mt. Penn, PA 19606. Interment will be at Schwarzwald Cemetery, Jacksonwald. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Reading Musical Foundation, P.O. Box 14835, Reading PA 19612. Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences, please visit www.LutzFuneralHome.com
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