Scott A. Salser, retired vocal music instructor from Indiana, and formerly of Knox, passed from this life into eternity in heaven on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. from complications due to COVID pneumonia.
Scott was born on June 9, 1962, in Oil City Hospital. He was the firstborn son of Earl and Rhonda Salser of Knox.
Growing up in Knox, Scott’s life was full of friends and memories. Scott and his younger brother Gregg teased and argued a little, especially when they were younger, but grew up to be close friends and would do anything for each other. His childhood years were full of neighborhood friends and formed a solid character and pleasant personality that came with a warm smile and a quick laugh. He learned to hunt and fish from his father. He was a Boy Scout and was very involved in the youth group at the Knox United Methodist Church where he began his lifelong faith journey. He loved traveling with his family and continued to do so throughout his life. In school, Scott was a good student who enjoyed learning. His first job was trimming Christmas trees for his grandfather during summer vacation which he continued through his college years.
Almost from the beginning, Scott’s passion was music. After coming home from Sunday School and plunking out the tunes they had sung that day at age five, he began piano lessons. He advanced so quickly that he was soon playing for school choruses and church. He was a member of the choirs at Keystone High School where he flourished as a singer and accompanist under the tutelage of Larry Frank and Thom Douglas. His talent and ability earned him membership in honor choirs at the District, Regional, All-State, and Eastern Division Level. One of his treasured performing highlights as a high school student was singing the baritone role in The Telephone, an opera were written by Gian Carlo Menotti for only two singers.
After high school, Scott attended the Indiana University of PA and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. He continued his education later at Penn State University where he earned a Master’s Degree in Music Education. His first job was teaching elementary and middle school music in the State College Area schools. After two years, he became the high school chorus teacher at East Stroudsburg High School. It was during this time that he met a local instrumental music teacher named Karen and a dating relationship began. When the high school vocal music position opened in the Indiana Area School District where Scott had done his student teaching, Scott was awarded the job. The new job created a geographic separation that neither Scott nor Karen liked. They married that next summer on July 11, 1992.
At Indiana, Scott’s teaching flourished. He simply loved teaching vocal music. His career was one of commitment and compassion, two characteristics he endeavored to instill in his students and in the myriad of student teachers who benefitted from his fine example as a mentor. He would spend days each year looking through hundreds of new pieces, searching for ones that would be just right for his students. He established traditions that became hallmarks of excellence for the Indiana Chorus program. There was never a year when his students did not earn a spot in PMEA All-State Chorus and many advanced to Eastern Division. On several occasions, Scott’s ensembles received an invitation to perform at the PMEA State In-Service Conference, a prestigious acknowledgment of the musical sophistication and prowess attained because of his capable leadership.
Some of his students went on to become professional musicians. All of them left with a deeper love for music and an understanding of how it could enrich their life. They experienced firsthand the result of hard work and discipline, growing under his nurturing, guiding hand toward artistic experiences that were of the very highest level. Scott valued all of his students and his investment in their lives was a powerful influence they would keep forever, largely through a quiet demonstration of his faith which was an integral part of his life. His mantra for them, said as they left his class every day was “Make wise choices.” To this day, hundreds of his former students still hear his voice and that phrase ringing in their memories.
Scott formed deep friendships among his musical colleagues. All of them recognized his amazing talent and passion for choral music, resulting in Scott being invited to serve as guest conductor for numerous festival choruses within the six counties of PMEA District 3. For all his musical successes though, the most exciting event in his life occurred in 2006 when his only child, Delia was born.
Scott is survived by his wife Karen and his daughter Delia of Indiana; his parents Earl and Rhonda Salser of Knox; his brother Gregg Salser of Fort Wayne, Indiana; his nephew Derric Salser, an officer in the United States Marines Corps, and his niece Elizabeth Salser, an honor student at Ball State University.
He is also survived by uncles, Ted and Carl Salser, Ed Weeter, and his wife Linda. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Eugene and Betty Weeter and Homer and Mary Salser, all of Knox.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m., April 30, 2022, at the Knox United Methodist Church, 9729 Route 338, Knox, with Reverend Wade Barto, pastor of the church, officiating.
An additional memorial service will be held in Indiana at a later date.
Interment will take place in the Knox Union Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be sent to the “Scott A. Salser Memorial Scholarship Fund” at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, 216 Franklin Street, Suite 400, Johnstown, PA 15901 or may be made online at cfalleghenies.org/cfa-funds/scott-a-salser-memorial-scholarship-fund. Memorial donations may also be made to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, c/o Scott Weigner, 622 Maple Street, Indiana, PA, 15701 to support Weigner’s ministry at IUP.
Online condolences may be sent to Scott’s family at www.rupertfuneralhomes.com
Local arrangements are under the direction of the William N. Rupert Mortuary, Inc. of Knox.