Alden Gilchrist Dec. 17, 1930 – Sept. 1, 2014

Dear Calvary Community–

With heavy hearts, we share that our beloved Music Director Alden Gilchrist passed away yesterday, September 1, 2014. He felt blessed to know how many of you loved him and were praying for him.


A sketch of Alden and choir by Kimberley Jones

Words are far from adequate to express how much he means to thousands in the Calvary community and around the world. As recently as this past Friday, Alden was still composing music, discussing theology and charming everyone he encountered. We will share as many of his compositions and favorite pieces of sacred music as we grieve and celebrate his life together.

Alden’s designated loved ones will be spending the next several days processing and praying through this time of mourning.

A formal service will be announced when they are ready to proceed.

In the meantime, we invite you to listen to a favorite piece of music or perhaps have a glass of red wine in Alden’s honor. Feel free too leave a comment here or on our Facebook post remembering Alden.




  • I was sad to report Alden’s death yesterday – – and would like to ask friends and colleagues to send me email ( about him to be quoted in the next issue of Music News. Thank you and, again, my condolences, Janos

    Janos Gereben
    September 3, 2014 at 10:48 am

  • Heaven is enriched and Earth is lessened by Alden’s death. A truly beautiful man in all respects.

    Sherry Bruce
    September 3, 2014 at 11:09 am

  • What sad news and what a tremendous loss. But at the same time, I am comforted by so many great memories of Alden’s love of music, people and life.

    Wendy Simon
    September 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

  • What to say… he taught me to sing, and he taught me how to teach voice, He taught me who I am.

    Dorothy Barnhouse
    September 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm

  • I met Alden in 1960 when as a young transplant from the midwest I sang for several years with the Calvary Presb. Choir, for which he was then the organist. He asked me to join his newly organized Camerata Singers in Berkeley, where we rehearsed weekly. Alden was hugely responsible for my growing interest in choral music which led to my joining the SF Opera Chorus where I eventually met my husband of now 48 years. Saturday afternoons at Alden’s North Beach flat were enlivened by interesting people, lots of music and of course delicious food with a French flair and several glasses of wine. Picnics in Sonoma County were a springtime ritual with more of the same! Alden was a person I thought would live forever – it saddens me to realize this was not to be!

    Gene Below Bland
    September 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

  • Alden has touched thousands with his elegant concepts of what it means to make music come alive. He will live on through us.

    Renee Grant-Williams
    September 27, 2014 at 2:41 pm

  • Alden was cherished by all. I was disappointed I could not attend his memorial service, but let this show my gratitude for his life. I also appreciate the thoughtful sketch. The lives he has touched has been many, as he is no doubt now in an exalted and wonderful place.

    Marlon Reynolds
    October 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm

  • I left Calvary in 2013 due to a move. I remember always feeling at home with Alden, knowing that even if he had one minute to talk, he’d share a piece of music history, insight, and passion with me. He always left me feeling ‘enlightened’. His was a full, rich, life, and I was so proud to be part of Calvary, where Alden could and did work without any ‘retirement’. There will be a new Music Director, whom I wish well. It is, however, a deep and broad chasm left by Alden’s absence. I only learned of his death today, and have a shock, awe, and heavy heart.

    Regina Noble
    August 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

Leave a Comment