Rev Francis P Schmitt

Rev Francis P Schmitt

West Point, Cuming County, Nebraska, USA
Death 2 May 1994 (aged 78)
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA
Burial West Point, Cuming County, Nebraska, USA
Memorial ID 84711574 · View Source
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Francis P. Schmitt: choirmaster extraordinaire, superb musician, priest of priests, loving mentor and devoted friend of generations of Boys Town boys.

We loved him; that's all that can be said -- deeply and with a devotion that never faltered. We are better human beings because we knew him. He taught us not only by his person -- what he was and what he stood for -- but superbly. He made miniature musical geniuses out of many, he opened doors and windows to music and living that changed the whole direction and quality of many lives, and this has remained to this very day.

He came to Boys Town in 1941, right out of the seminary.

In his book "Boys Will Be Boys" he writes: " The duties of master of the Boys Town Choir was accidental. It happened that the choirmaster and the organist both went on vacation at the same time. Would I tide things over for a couple of weeks? Well, why not? At the first service, I managed to pull up to something past an adagio. An hour or so later, I was called to the phone, and I heard Flanagan saying: ''Schmitt, that was electric!''

Well, that electricity prevailed for 36 years, the choir acclaimed one of the best choirs in the world, and their director respected and revered as a rare musician and choirmaster who could talk turkey with Jean Langlais of Paris, Flor Peeters from the Netherlands, Roger Wagner from Hollywood and every major composer of sacred music in the world.

Hunreds of young boys/men were privileged to have toured 48 of the 50 United States, Canada, and Japan as a member of the Boys Town Choir. They sang in high school gymnasiums, small town auditoriums, and the enormous fine art centers in almost every metropolitan city in America, normally before a packed audience who never failed to request an encore. For 36 years, young boys in Boys Town were really learning and singing quality music, most of it in Latin, with some others in German, French, Spanish, and Japanese thrown in as well.

"Father" as he was simply yet affectionately known by us boys was tall and had a stern exterior which was matched by a quiet and unassuming nature. He was, however, colorful, often seen sporting a beret, a Hawaiian shirt, and forever puffing on a Mark IV cigar.. His intellect concerning liturgical church music, classical music, classical and modern literature, and history of the Roman Catholic Church was vast and scholarly.

He was recognized as one of the world authorities on Gregorian Chant and contemporary religious music, and the concerts of the Boys Town Choir and his Liturgical Music Workshops brought music lovers from all over the country to Boys Town to listen, learn and admire.

But this was not important to him. It was good for Boys Town and it was good for the boys to have to reach for that kind of excellence, but it was the personal association with him that made the difference.

He left Boys Town in 1977, not by choice, and became, as he said a simple country priest, going to St. Aloysius Church Church in Aloys, Nebraska.

For all of us who knew him, a light went out of the sky and the world was poorer for the passing of the friend and music master, for whom music was a very special gift of God and singing one of the sure ways to find him.

Rest in Peace my dear "Father" & Friend!

Some of the words for this bio are mine, some are by Father himself, others come from William Shannon BT class of 73 in an article entitled "Music Dies at Boys Town" and Fr. Clifford Stevens BT class of 44 in an article entitled "The Music Master."

Family Members

  • Created by: Lawrence Adams
  • Added: 9 Feb 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 84711574
  • David Alexander
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Francis P Schmitt (14 Apr 1916–2 May 1994), Find a Grave Memorial no. 84711574, citing Saint Michael Cemetery, West Point, Cuming County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Lawrence Adams (contributor 47706875) .