Remembering John McFadden
Former Laurie Auditorium director spent more than 30 years at Trinity
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
black and white photo of john mcfadden in his office at laurie auditorium, next to a recent photo of john holding flowers

John McFadden, longtime former director of Laurie Auditorium, died on Feb. 15 from Parkinson's disease. John worked at Trinity for more than 30 years, retiring in 2002. In addition to the names mentioned in the tribute below, McFadden brought many recognizable names to Trinity, including: Leontyne Price, Helmut Schmidt, Margaret Thatcher, and Henry Kissinger. 
 
Kevin Hawkins, the current director of Laurie Auditorium, wrote this tribute to McFadden:
 
"In August 1985, I walked into the boss' office, just two months after graduating from Trinity with a history degree. Before I knew what happened, I was hired as the first professional stage manager at Laurie Auditorium. Thirty-five years later I’m still there. Because of him.
 
The things I learned from him are immeasurable. Simply put, he was a genuine joy to work for. He had a boundless love of the arts and was an energetic promoter of all things musical. Opera, symphonies, jazz and dance. Back in the day, he did it all.
 
He was a genuine authority on opera especially, and made the pilgrimage to Bayreuth, Germany, three times to experience the grandeur that was Wagner’s “Ring Cycle."
 
As the creator of the “In Performance” series at Trinity, he booked the most famous names in classical entertainment. Alicia de la Rocha, Andre Watts, Dave Brubeck, Isaac Stern, Yitzhak Perlman, and KODO to name but a few. He presented numerous dance companies, including a spectacular Taiwanese dance company, Cloudgate, live peacocks and all.
 
As he was a personal friend of Hal Holbrook and his wife Dixie Carter, you could count on a performance of “Mark Twain Tonight!” every three or four years. A consummate professional, I only saw him “star struck” once. We had booked Cary Grant, yes that Cary Grant, for an evening of recollections from the Golden Age of Hollywood. That was, pardon the cliche, a magical night.

John McFadden (left) and Cary Grant in Laurie Auditorium. Photo taken by Ansen Seale.

 
As a board member of the San Antonio Festival and Arts San Antonio, he worked tirelessly to bring to Trinity and San Antonio some of the finest acts on tour.
 
But what I remember most about Mr. McFadden was his humor. He was an unapologetic punster and could quote lines from the great comedies of years gone by. There were times when working for him was like being in the same room as Jack Benny, Sid Caesar, or the Marx Brothers.
 
My wife and children adored him, and so did I.
 
Thanks for the Memories Mac. Give my regards to Groucho and Mr. Benny."
 

Read John McFadden's obituary in full online.

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