A moment of grace

Hilary Hogan nearly walked away from music as a young teenager when her father died in the crash of TWA Flight 800 a decade ago.

Her father, David Hogan, had been a gifted composer and vocal instructor. Pursuing his vocation, at the time, was too difficult.

“Throughout my high school years, I unconsciously pulled away from music,” Hilary said. “It represented a deeply personal link I had with my father. It permeated my dearest memories of him.”

Healing required the passage of time, but eventually the young woman returned to music, and in the process, reconnected with her father in ways she never imagined.

Her journey has brought her full circle. She will sing solo in a concert Sunday at Grace Cathedral titled “Love’s Perfect Design: A Celebration of Friends, Family and Love,” a tribute to the shy, unassuming man who touched so many lives.

David Hogan, a native of Northern Virginia, served as musical director at San Francisco’s St. Francis Lutheran Church. He wrote major compositions for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. In his last years, he split time between the United States and France, leading the Gay Men's Chorus in Paris.

He co-founded The Walden School, a musical summer camp for children in rural New Hampshire. He coordinated the music programs for the Consortium of the Arts in Walnut Creek, and taught choir at the Meher School in Lafayette. But to many, he was simply their music teacher.

“Everyone thought he was individually theirs,” said Terry Hogan-Johnson, his former wife, who is conducting the concert. “He’s an example of how any one of us affects a huge network of people.”

Hilary eventually enrolled at the Peabody Institute, the music conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the school her father had attended some 30 years before.

Having performed in venues around the world, Hilary said she can now bring her own interpretation to her father’s work. She has collaborated with her mother, Terry, in choosing the program that will include some of her father’s favorite pieces as well as his own compositions. They aimed for a broad array, from Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” to her father’s Magnificat, written to celebrate the completion of the National Cathedral, and recorded by the chorus there in tandem with the Grace Cathedral choir.

“This concert isn’t so much about David, this one person,” Hogan-Johnson said. “He’s an example of someone who gave selflessly, who loved art and people, who found beauty in everything. It could be any one of us who find ourselves privileged to support others through love. David did that in many ways and for many of us. We have come together to celebrate that and to share that reality with others.”

“Love's Perfect Design: A Celebration of Friends, Family, and Love” will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at www.thanksgivingconcert.org.

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