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July 30, 2013

ULM remembers an amazing talent: Louis Nabors

Louis Nabors, a man known for his commanding voice and powerful presence in the classroom, onstage, and in person, bestowed his gifts to the University of Louisiana at Monroe for 40 years.

Nabors, 69, died in Italy on Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

ULM President Dr. Nick J. Bruno shared his thoughts on ULM's associate professor of voice.

"We are saddened to hear about the loss of our incredible professor, Louis Nabors," said Bruno.

"He was a great colleague who was known for his voice and vibrato, and over the past four decades, he influenced hundreds of lives. Louis traveled the world doing what he loved, performing in international operas and musical theater, and delivering uplifting spirituals. His community impact and dedication to ULM were two of his most amazing qualities, and he will be sorely missed by the ULM family."

Nabors, a bass and local legend regarded for his repertoire of spirituals and impossibly deep, resonant timbre, taught and performed across the country.

He appeared at the Kennedy Center as well as with top opera companies and symphonies in Arizona, Houston, Los Angeles, Fort Worth, Louisiana, West Germany, the Philippines, and the Bahamas. He also appeared in musical theater nationwide.

Derle Long, director of ULM School of Visual and Performing Arts, said, "I'm saddened to hear about the loss of a valuable colleague and good friend. He's been an institution in the ULM Department of Music for many years and a wonderful performer and teacher. It is sad to lose someone of his caliber."

Nabors created and directed ULM's Interdenominational Ensemble, an on-campus choral group that sings a variety of musical styles including gospel, spirituals, and African-American Broadway musicals and operas.

Deborah Chandler, associate professor and Director of Choral Activities at ULM, met Nabors in 2004.

She said, "Louis was a giant of a man in more than the obvious ways. He was a giant with his talent and his love for his students and family; with the care that he offered his students, he was a father figure to so many. He was a trusted, valuable colleague and he will be missed for a very long time. As faculty, we can only try to comfort the students who looked up to him and trusted him. He was a compassionate teacher whose tough love approach elicited excellence from his students. We can carry on his passions for singing and sharing with his students. Our love and prayers of healing go out to his family and friends."

Delasber Sanders (B.G.S. '96), first cousin of Nabors' wife and Nabors' former student, said, "[Louis was] the biggest, toughest, teddy bear I've ever known. He expected excellence, and he achieved it."

More about Nabors:

In 2005, Nabors performed the role of Amonasro in Elton John's "Aida," and spent the summer teaching in Italy.

He completed a recital tour throughout Germany in 2006 and 2009. During the summer of 2007 and 2010, he performed the role of Sarastro in Mozart's "The Magic Flute" with Almafi Coast Music Festival.

He also performed as Simone in Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" in 2008. Nabors served as ULM's summer commencement speaker in 2006.

His annual performance of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" delighted audiences at the university's annual holiday celebration.

He was recognized both artistically and personally by such nods as the 1990 College of Liberal Arts Performing Artist of the Year and several honors for outstanding community service.

Nabors received his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Prairie View University and his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Southern University.

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