Violet W. Addison, 106, music teacher and musician

Violet W. Addison
Violet W. Addison
Posted: May 17, 2014

Violet W. Addison, 106, of Philadelphia, a music teacher, a musician, and the former accompanist to the All City Boys Choir, died Tuesday, May 6, at Stapeley in Germantown.

Mrs. Addison lived independently for many years in an apartment building on Ford Road, but moved to Stapeley in the mid-2000s when she needed assistance. She lived a full life centered on her church, various choirs, and her teaching career.

"Life is God's greatest gift to you," she liked to say. "What you do with your life is your gift to God."

Known to friends as "Vi," Mrs. Addison taught music and remedial reading at Philadelphia's Martha Washington School for many years. Temple University chartered a bus so that music majors could observe her classroom techniques. She worked briefly as a music consultant before retiring from the school district in 1969.

Mrs. Addison was present in 1962 as the All City Boys Choir was forming. She played the organ and piano for the choir until 1968, when she became accompanist to the Academy Boys Choir of Philadelphia.

She and the academy choir performed in churches and cathedrals in Philadelphia; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Montreal; the Netherlands, and Paris.

During her 104th-birthday party at Stapeley, Richard Ervais and Douglas Murray, two former All City Boys Choir members then in their 50s, made a surprise appearance.

"It was a marvelous reunion for all of them," said Gloria Blount, a longtime friend.

Born Violet Warrington in Philadelphia, Mrs. Addison was educated at Philadelphia Normal School and Temple University. She took private lessons in piano, organ, and singing.

At age 6, she sang her first solo at St. Paul's Baptist Church, where she eventually became the organist and choir director.

When she married William T.H. Addison, pastor of New Bethany Baptist Church, she switched to that church, but returned to St. Paul's after he retired. He died in 1982.

Mrs. Addison received awards from the Sanctuary Choir of St. Paul's Church and the Philadelphia Association of Organists and Choirmasters, and citations from the mayor and City Council of Philadelphia.

She was a member of the Philadelphia Piano Ensemble and the NAACP.

Surviving are her caregiver, Constance Clayton, and many friends.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 17, at St. Paul's Baptist Church, 1000 Wallace St., Philadelphia. Interment will be in Mount Lawn Cemetery.


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