Thomas Shell – April 15, 1947 – March 18, 2017
(LOS ANGELES) – MAR. 21, 2017 – Last night at rehearsal, chorus member Lucio Maramba read the following remarks about former GMCLA accompanist, Thomas (Tom) Shell. For those who weren’t there, after Lucio spoke we sang “Light” from our current concert. Thank you for allowing us to share this Lucio, and much love to you and your husband Bob.
“Over the years, GMCLA has enjoyed an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our Principal Accompanists on our mighty Bösendorfer. We currently have the amazing Cassie Nickols, who took the reigns from Michael Alfera before her. In 2004, we lost our longest running accompanist Bill Trusten, who joined in 1979. At the time of his death, Bill had already transitioned from accompanist to Assistant Conductor having gracefully handed the keys to the Bösendorfer to Tom Shell – who was our rock in rehearsal and on stage from 1999-2007.
Tom was an amazing pianist, attended Stanford & Juilliard, later studying in Paris before a lifelong career as a musical director and working in recording and on TV before he landed at GMCLA. His first introduction to GMCLA was as Bea Arthur’s accompanist when she performed with GMCLA. I am sad to say that we lost Tom Shell this Saturday. Tom had been in failing health for the last few years, and he died peacefully in his home surrounded by friends after a month long hospice. I can honestly say that once Tom made the decision to enter home hospice care, he was the happiest I have seen him in years. A tremendous weight had been lifted.
Let’s make sure that Tom’s commitment and love of our chorus is remembered and celebrated for generations to come. I know that Tom Shell’s love and energy still reverberates in our Bösendorfer with every note played. We love you Tom.” – Lucio