Joyce Elaine Eilers-Bacak


Noted choral composer and Oklahoma native, died June 2 in Tacoma, Wash. She was 67. Eilers-Bacak is recognized as one of the top choral composers in the country, with hundreds of compositions and arrangements, best-selling methods for teaching sight-singing and for her mentoring of young composers.

Eilers-Bacak was born July 28, 1941, to Fred and Pearl Eilers of Mooreland. She earned a bachelor’s of music degree in 1963 from Oklahoma City University and a master’s degree in music from University of Oregon in 1967. She taught in Weatherford and Seminole. Eilers-Bacak later became an instructor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

Among her published choral works are “My Lord,” “Brighten My Soul with Sunshine,” “Go Ye Now in Peace” and “The Irish Blessing.”

“Joyce … was incredibly generous with her time and encouragement of young composers,” said Emily Crocker, vice president of choral publications at Hal Leonard Corp. “Her music had a wonderful way of touching the heart. Thousands, maybe millions of singers have been enriched by her contribution to the choral art, and she leaves a lasting legacy of beauty.”