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In Memoriam

Emmanuel Valentine Leemans (1925 - 2015)

Month's Mind Requiem Mass (Gregorian)
St. Anthony of Padua Church, Jersey City, NJ
2 January 2016 at 11:00 a.m.


EMMANUEL VALENTINE LEEMANS Emmanuel Valentine Leemans (1925-2015) Long-time Hoboken resident Emmanuel V. Leemans died on November 19, 2015 one day after suffering a heart attack. Manny was born in Belgium, where he endured four years under Nazi occupation. He attended the Royal Music Conservatory in Brussels, Belgium, and studied with Flor Peters, one of the most prominent organists and composers of the 20th century. Manny immigrated to the United States in 1958, taking the position of musical director and accompanist for the Boys Town Choir in Omaha, Nebraska. After moving to New York, and later New Jersey, Manny studied composition and musicology at the Julliard School of Music, and received a master's degree from Columbia University, where his thesis topic was the Bach chorales. He directed these short but beautiful pieces with unique enthusiasm and insight, in churches and choruses, for the next fifty-plus years. Over his career Manny was organist and music and choral director at St. Michael's Monastery in Union City, and later at Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken. He taught music at Our Lady of Grace School, and for many years directed the Hoboken Renaissance Singers. Manny loved classical music of all styles and eras, but his favorite composer was Johann Sebastian Bach. At the time of his death Manny was in the process of completing his collection of recordings of Bach's two hundred-nine surviving cantatas. Manny was a member of the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Director's association, and the Columbia Club. Manny is survived by his wife Antoinette and brothers Paul and Constant, who live in Belgium. Also surviving are children through marriage Daniel DePalma, Annette DePalma, and Angelo DePalma, plus eight grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He will also be remembered for his intellect, musical accomplishments, and dry humor by scores of friends, students, and colleagues. 
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