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Memorial For Longtime Taft Teacher James J. Stamm Set

By Heather Cherone | October 12, 2016 5:11am
 James J. Stamm
James J. Stamm
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Stamm Tribute Concert

NORWOOD PARK — A memorial for James J. Stamm, who died in August after teaching music at Taft High School for nearly 30 years, will take place Oct. 23, organizers said.

The nondenominational service will take place from 1-2 p.m. in the auditorium of Taft High School, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., organizers with the Taft High School Foundation.

Stamm's family and friends are scheduled to speak at the service, and the Taft High School Mixed Chorus will sing the school's alma mater song composed by Stamm, organizers said.

In 2013, a concert dedicated to Stamm launched the Taft High School Foundation, which raises money for the Far Northwest Side high school.

"He created magic in his students that transformed his encouragement into soaring harmonies that generated standing ovations from audiences for over three decades," a statement from the Taft foundation said. "His lessons were dress rehearsals for life."

Stamm said in 2013 before the tribute concert that the highlight of his career at Taft, which stretched from 1956-83, was directing the school's chorus.

"I tried to inculcate in my students to always strive for the best and to give as much as they can of themselves," Stamm said. "I got personal pleasure from making them sound like a professional or college chorus. That was my ambition."

Stamm was also an accomplished singer, conductor, composer and arranger, according to the foundation.

In addition to directing the school's chorus, Stamm also produced Broadway shows at Taft, including his favorites "Carousel" and "Guys and Dolls," according to the foundation.

"His booming baritone voice could be heard in every corner of a thousand seat theater as he directed the performers on the stage," according to the foundation, remembering Stamm's "disarming grin and his charming disposition."

For more information, go to tafthsfoundation.org.

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