Baylor School of Music to Remember the Lives of Jack Stewart & Laura Onwudinanti with Memorial Concert

  • Laura Onwudinanti
    Laura Onwudinanti photo courtesy of Allison Jayroe
  • Jack Stewart
    Jack Stewart photo courtesy of Allison Jayroe.
Sept. 3, 2014

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Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Sept. 3, 2014) – As faculty, staff and students in the Baylor University School of Music and the family and friends of Jack Stewart and Laura Onwudinanti grieve the loss of the two talented music students tragically killed in a highway accident on July 29, the School will host a memorial concert in their honor at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7, in Jones Concert Hall.

“This concert will reflect the lives of Laura and Jack because it will be about faith and about music,” said Stephen Heyde, The Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Studies, director of orchestral activities and Conductor-in-Residence at Baylor. “Those elements defined Laura and Jack – they were both committed Christians, and both were wonderfully gifted musicians.”

A talented clarinetist, Stewart was a junior studying music education at Baylor. Also a remarkable clarinetist, Onwudinanti was a spring 2014 graduate of Baylor with a degree in music education and was set to pursue graduate studies this fall at the University of Michigan.

The accident occurred while the students, along with senior Jacob Hale and incoming freshman Megan Ritzi, were en route to ClarinetFest 2014, an annual festival produced by the International Clarinet Association, where they were scheduled to share their talents with many other musicians.

“Dedicating a concert to the memory of Laura and Jack is the perfect way to celebrate people who embodied the same joy music can bring to those who listen,” said Jennifer Lane, a spring 2014 graduate of the Baylor School of Music.

Both were immensely talented and left a lasting legacy within the Baylor music community, fellow students and faculty in the music school said.

“Even in tragedy and pain such as we are experiencing, it is always helpful to be reminded of the fragility of life, and to realize the opportunity God has given us to impact others in a positive way,” said Heyde. “When music is performed for the right reasons and not for self-aggrandizement, God can use it in powerful ways.”

The concert will open with the slow movement, “Lento, quasi andante,” from Joseph Horovitz’s Clarinet Sonatina of 1981 performed by pianist Brian Marks and Baylor clarinet professor Jun Qian, Ph.D., who instructed both Onwudinanti and Stewart during their time at Baylor.

Baylor Symphony Orchestra string players, led by Conductor-in-Residence Stephen Heyde, will perform the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, followed by Baylor A Cappella Choir, directed by Alan Raines, which will perform the Mack Wilberg arrangement of “My Shepherd will Supply My Need.”

Dr. Qian then will lead the Baylor Clarinet Choir in a setting of Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in G minor, K. 30. Next, the Baylor University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Director of Bands J. Eric Wilson, will play his own arrangement of Serenity by Ola Gjeilo, followed by the A Cappella Choir with “We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace.”

Concluding the program will be Dr. Wilson’s setting of “Amazing Grace,” as performed by the Baylor Clarinet Quartet.

“We all have a need to grieve, and music can be a wonderful, cathartic force to expedite those deeply buried emptions that must surface,” said Heyde. “But music can also be enormously positive, hopeful and worshipful. Laura and Jack would want us to smile as we remember them.”

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 254-710-3991.

by Kristen Bennett, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Our students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service, and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, the students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture, and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. The School of Music of Baylor University is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs leading to the bachelor of music education degree conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency.

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