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A Tribute

Jim Farron
Curator of this Archive 1993-2004

Jim Farron, more than anyone else, indeed more than all others combined, made the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive what it is today. His tireless efforts turned it from a repository of a few libretti into an award winning site that has become the centre of the Gilbert and Sullivan cyberworld.

He  was a man of wide and diverse interests. He read widely — putting the time when he was travelling to and from work on the bus to good use in that respect. His garden, a love of wildlife and his classic car were other passions.

But this site is a testimony to his enthusiasm for the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, and his wish to share the pleasure he gained from those works with others. He wrote:

I "found" G&S relatively late in life.  I have no idea how I missed it to that point, as I have always been a classical music fan, but somehow I did.  I don't recall exactly, but I don't think that I really discovered G&S until about 20 years ago.  And now I want to help the other unfortunates who were in the same situation that I was — an ignorant, lost soul missing out on the real joys of life!

I am very aware of the potential for the Archive to reach out to the "so who wrote the music and who wrote the words" crowd.  I think that many people have found G&S through the Archive, and that this is one of our most important audiences.  This was actually my principal audience when I first started posting MIDI files — I wanted people to be able to hear for themselves what this music sounded like.

Jim also created the original web pages for the Office of Personnel Management and the Washington Area Butterfly Club.

Tributes from Subscribers to Savoynet

As one who worked closely with Jim Farron on the G&S Archive, I was very shocked to hear this morning of his sudden death.   Jim was a good and generous man who gave much of his time and his artistic talents to promoting the operas we all love.   For me, his passing will leave a void which it will be very hard to fill.   I feel I have just lost a true friend.

God bless you, Jim, wherever you are.

Colin Johnson

Probably like a lot of G&S people, I had no idea who Jim Farron was or what he did. But I used the G&S Archive all the time — whenever I needed to prepare for an audition, when rehearsing a part, or just to look up a line to satisfy idle curiosity. And it never ocurred to me that there was someone out there who actually did the work to make all that available.

So... a far too belated "Thank you", Jim Farron. And God bless you.

Andrew Solovay

I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of grief which I'm sure we all share at the passing of yet another friend. I had a great deal of correspondence with Jim over the course of several weeks in this past August and September, during which he patiently and painstakingly corrected every little presentational detail involving the posting of my seven lengthy G&S vocal score errata lists to the Archive. There is an astounding amount of detail that goes into this sort of work, and I cannot say enough in praise of Jim's dedication to getting the job done and getting it right — even such a trivial job as the posting of my lists. He felt it was important enough to spend time on, and never once begrudged me my many e-mails to him, correcting this or that detail of the work in progress. Instead, he encouraged me to point out as many problems as I could find, saying repeatedly that he wanted them to be as accurately presented as possible, as they would undoubtedly be a valuable resource to many users for years to come. Whether he was right or not about that is ultimately immaterial to the amount of gratitude I will always feel to him for giving so freely and generously of his time, not only for my project but for all the wonderful resources he made available to all of us on the Archive.

Godspeed, Jim. We'll miss you.

Steven Lichtenstein

I never met Jim Farron, but I knew him by email. He was generous, dedicated, good-humoured and never-failingly patient. The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive is quite simply an astonishing and unique resource, and it would not exist without him. Losing him now seems somehow against the natural order of things.

Andrew Crowther

Like others, I too was staggered at the news earlier on of Jim's death. The more so since he and I had had an exchange of e-mails over the last 2 or 3 days. I found him a courteous and conscientious man and I shall mourn the loss of a burgeoning friendship.

Geoff. Dixon

This is quite a loss to our circle. Jim was incredibly patient with me (and my thoughtless questions), and always made me feel like my small contribution was important.

You will be missed Jim.

Scott Farrell

Jim and I connected over the years with my web opera of A Greek Slave, British Musical Theatre, the BMT section of the G&S Archive and general web matters. Let me second all that others have said about his help and patience and encouragement. He is sadly missed.

Marc Kenig.

Jim was a wonderful person. I've only worked with him for a few projects on the archive, but he was inevitably a kind, considerate person, with great warmth. He will be greatly missed.

Adam Cuerden

I never had the privilege of knowing Jim or having direct contact with him, but the keeper of that marvellous Archive was a man of boundless knowledge, energy and dedication.  The whole G'n'S community owes him a mighty debt of gratitude.

Derrick McClure.

My acquaintance with Jim is like many others'.  I never met him, I merely corresponded with him as I edited two libretti and prepared Gilbert's letters for the Gilbert & Sullivan Archive, and discussed the possibility of digitizing the vocal score of His Excellency (which never happened).  But I felt I knew him, and greatly appreciated his kindness (and patience with my technological ignorance) as well as his helpfulness.  He answered my many questions promptly and clearly.

We owe him a lot for the G&S Archive.  I remember back in the late 1970's spending a lot of time trying to track down the Rose of Persia libretto, and later copying the lyrics for The Emerald Isle by hand.   Now these libretti, and many more, are available to all. (Who would have thought that the text of Jane Annie would become so accessible? )  I thought I'd read nearly all the Gilbert that was accessible outside the British Museum, but such items as Topsy-turveydom were new to me.  I know Jim spent a lot of time just on the few things I contributed; I can only imagine how much time (and care and effort) he expended on the entire Archive.  I hope he realized how much we all appreciated his work.  It is indeed an outstanding resource for scholars... not to mention that I've had a lot of sheer fun browsing it.

Arthur Robinson

I just sent a note to thank him on behalf of myself and others for all the excellent work that has gone into making the site even more useful and wonderful than it was when I first found it.

I am very glad that I seized the chance then, before he passed.

Edwin Nealley

Jim Farron was the first person I ever had contact with on my very first day on the Internet. He was always cheerful and helpful, and a very knowledgeable bloke. Will definitely be missed.

Helga Perry

The Archive is a fantastic resource that I have used for over 10 years.   I was lucky enough to meet Jim in person, first at the 2nd Rockville sing-out, and I was honored when he asked me to write various little bits and pieces for the Archive.

Jim leaves a legacy of great usefulness to a great many people, and one that helps keep G&S alive and thriving.

Rest in Peace, Jim.

Sam Silvers

Members of this newsgroup are well aware of how indebted we all are to Jim for the loving work he put into creating, maintaining, and improving this incredibly valuable and entertaining G&S resourse.  I am personally deeply indebted to him for unstinting assistance and encouragement he provided to me with my "Who Was Who" section.

David Stone

As curator of the G&S Archive, Jim was responsible for broadening the world of G&S, GWOS and SWOG beyond the faithful on this list to the world at large.  He is the primary reason the Archive has been ranked at the top of many lists, not just in the G&S world but for similar websites in general.

I'm sure most of us could relate how Jim helped us in one way or another. For me, he was instrumental in getting my Utopia score posted, as well as the two "lost" Yeomen songs.  For Utopia, he spent many patient hours creating the .pdf files before I had the capability of doing that.  He also wrote the quite complex web pages that list all the components of the score.

And he did all these things in relative obscurity, asking nothing in return.

We have lost a good, kind, and generous soul.

Thank you Jim.  Be at peace.

Larry Byler

I had very little direct correspondence with Jim, but I've used the Archive at least three times a week ever since I first gained Internet access in 1999, for a wide array of purposes. (The file drawer behind me is half-filled with sheet music and VSs I've downloaded, to name just one.) I know just enough about computer processes to be stunned by the amount of work that Jim must have put in to make this quantity and quality of material available to the world.  Dedication at this level is rare and precious.

I hope that his family will find some consolation in the gratitude of all of us who are indebted to him for his immense contribution.

Andi Stryker-Rodda

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Page Updated 6 September, 2011