Obituaries Archive

Obituaries » Jonathan C. Cook

Check your settings when you are happy with your print preview press the print icon below.

Show Obituaries Show Guestbook Show Photos QR Code Print

Jonathan C. Cook

July 15, 1984 - August 30, 2021

Services will be held at St. Thomas More Church on 421 Monroe Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at noon on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Fr. Paul Redmond will preside at the Mass of Christian Burial. A reception will follow at Milham Park in Kalamazoo.

 

Tax deductible donations can be made in the name of Jonathan Chapman Cook to the Stewards of Kleinstuck, 916 Sunset Lane, Kalamazoo MI 49008. Jonathan began walking at Kleinstuck Preserve when he was two-year-old and visited as recently as mid-August. It was a place of inspiration for him.

 

Donations can also be made to the Helen L. Fox Gospel Music Center at P.O. Box 2621, Portage MI 49081. Please visit their website (hlfgmc.org) to learn more about this remarkable woman’s legacy providing music lessons for children on Kalamazoo’s Northside.

Jonathan Chapman Cook passed away Monday, August 30, 2021, at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, following a massive stroke.

 

Jonathan was born Sunday, July 15, 1984, in Burlington, Vermont, the second son of Mark and Mary Cook. He was raised and attended school in Kalamazoo. From birth, he showed an extraordinary interest in music, spending many happy hours singing in his crib. At age seven, after attending a faculty concert at Western Michigan University, Jonathan approached the stage asking performers if they knew anyone who gave recorder lessons. He was connected with Tamara Ballen with whom he studied the recorder for several years, culminating in playing the instrument in his role of Cobweb for a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Celery Flats in the summer of 1995. His music career was launched.

 

In fifth grade, when it came time to choose an instrument for band class, Jonathan selected the drums. This eventually led him to another percussion instrument—the piano. He first studied piano with Jeff Mitchell. who quickly recognized Jonathan’s potential and referred him to Jill Christian’s piano studio. Under her tutelage, Jonathan achieved many awards through the Michigan Music Teachers Association performance competitions. In addition to piano, he developed an interest in composing, which led to statewide recognition for a clarinet and piano piece.

 

Jonathan received his bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Music Composition from Western Michigan University in 2009, where he studied piano with Lori Sims and composition with C. Curtis-Smith and Richard Adams. As a student at WMU, Jonathan pursued a multitude of additional interests, including organ performance, church music, choral, vocal, and instrumental accompaniment. He also enjoyed reading poetry, philosophy, and studying environmental issues.

 

Following his years at WMU, Jonathan attended graduate school for his Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he studied piano with Christopher Harding. There he won the Stravinsky Concerto Competition and subsequently performed the Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds in Hill Auditorium under the baton of Michael Haithcock. He also performed Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto under the baton of Elim Chan. He graduated with his master’s degree in 2011.

 

Trained in organ performance, church music, and hymnology by master organist Karl Schrock, Jonathan served as organist at several parishes. Most notably, he served as music director and organist at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hot Springs, Virginia, from 2012 to 2018. During this time, he lived in Lexington, Virginia.

 

In 2018, Jonathan moved to Chicago, Illinois, and began teaching piano to students of all ages out of his studio, JCC Piano in Ravenswood. Here he truly discovered how important teaching piano was in his life.

 

In August 2020, Jonathan generously returned home to Kalamazoo to assist his parents during the pandemic. From his high-tech studio in their basement, Jonathan was able to engage with his students virtually. The last day of his life, he released the 2021 Summer Recital of his piano students. In his opening remarks, Jonathan commented on the comfort of music during uncertain times. He viewed music as something that not only offers comfort but allows performers to achieve a sense of beauty and order in their lives. He said, “We all go to music for inspiration, for energy, for respite, or whatever it is we need… Practice of an instrument is also something that provides a great deal of stability in life amid uncertainty. I think of the practice of an instrument and improving of an instrument like cultivating a garden: we set aside space for it in life, show up for it, and water the seeds and watch them grow. That’s what happens when we show up for practice.”

 

All who knew Jonathan know that he would encourage us to cultivate that which we love and continue improving it. He would also want us to turn to the music that most gives us comfort as we process the loss of this beautiful and generous human.

 

Jonathan was preceded in death by his grandparents, William and Mary Chapman of East Lansing and Frederick and Margaret Cook of Lansing. He is survived by his parents, Mark and Mary Cook, his brother, Peter Cook, and his sister-in-law, Ellen VanderMyde. He also leaves behind many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and most importantly, his students, who will carry his music forward.

 

Services will be held at St. Thomas More Church on Monroe Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at noon on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Fr. Paul Redmond will preside at the Mass of Christian Burial. A reception will follow at Milham Park in Kalamazoo.

 

Tax deductible donations can be made in the name of Jonathan Chapman Cook to the Stewards of Kleinstuck, 916 Sunset Lane, Kalamazoo MI 49008. Jonathan began walking at Kleinstuck Preserve when he was two-year-old and visited as recently as mid-August. It was a place of inspiration for him.

 

Donations can also be made to the Helen L. Fox Gospel Music Center at P.O. Box 2621, Portage MI 49081. Please visit their website (hlfgmc.org) to learn more about this remarkable woman’s legacy providing music lessons for children on Kalamazoo’s Northside.