Isaac, Merle J(ohn)
- William R. Lee
(b Pioneer, IA, Oct 12, 1898; d Chicago, IL, March 11, 1996). American music educator, arranger, and administrator. Isaac graduated from the VanderCook College of Music (BM 1932), the Lewis Institute (BSc 1936), and Northwestern University (MA 1937). He learned to sing in the Chicago public schools and studied piano and organ privately. From 1919 to 1929 he performed as a silent movie organist. When the silent film era ended, Isaac taught at John Marshall High School in Chicago, where he developed an award-winning orchestra (1929–43) before becoming principal of Talcott Elementary School, also in Chicago (1943–64). Noticing an absence of easier pieces for children to play, he began arranging and composing for band and orchestra, producing hundreds of works. Isaac also authored many articles and books on education and on arranging. His arrangements and the famous Merle Isaac String Class Method...