By: Jen Russon
A local musician, known affectionately to his many students as ‘Dr. Joe’ passed away peacefully and unexpectedly, following a distinguished career as a pianist, organist, church musician, conductor, and teacher. He was 73.
“Dr. Joe leaves a half-century-long legacy of students whose lives were changed because he showed them how to find the music within them,” said his wife, Darby.
Darby added her husband of 49 years leaves behind a son, Kenneth Line of Philadelphia, and brother, Dr. Dennis Line of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Friends and family know beloved Shih Tzus, Kona, and Kaffee, are wondering where he is.
Dr. Joseph Line was born on February 9, 1949, in Carlisle, PA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in organ and a master’s degree in conducting from The Oberlin College-Conservatory of Music. He also has a doctorate in musical arts in conducting from The University of Michigan.
He was a university professor and spent eight years at the State University of New York at Oswego, five years at Marshall University, six years as music director of an international cultural exchange company, and conducted for the Prague Symphony, Brno Philharmonic, and Varna, Bulgaria opera.
In 2010, the Lines moved to South Florida, settling in Coral Springs and later Pompano Beach, welcoming hundreds of smiling faces into their home each week for piano lessons and recitals.
Through COVID-19, they produced virtual concerts of Dr. Joe’s students playing. Many of them paid their respects on his Facebook page, following news of his death.
“We are still in shock – Just last Thursday, we had such a good talk about life and children – We’ll miss you a lot – Your legacy is forever with us,” wrote Lenisse Komatsu, who posted a video of her children taking last lessons with Dr. Joe.
David Lindsey, a friend from New Jersey, called Dr. Joe a tremendous influence, whose loss would be felt by many.
Another wrote, “Dr. Line was a brilliant musician, and I was fortunate enough to be a member of his Chamber Singers in college.”
In 2011, Dr. Joe and a former student, South Florida theatre music director, Caryl Fantel, and their spouses opened a music school called Arts Alive in Coral Springs. For two years, it provided music and theatre education to local children.
Dr. Joe also served as supply organist for All Saints Episcopal Church and later as director of music for St. Martin Episcopal Church in Pompano Beach. In addition, he was a vocal coach at North Broward Preparatory High School, where he also served as music director for two musical theatre productions.
Dr. Joe’s Celebration of Life service will be held, as well as live-streamed, at Unity of Pompano Beach Spiritual Center on Saturday, February 12 at 3:30 p.m. The church is located at 261 SE 13th Avenue.
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- Jen Russon has been a staff writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, copywriter and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.
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