This refers to the write-up on William Skelton, Carnatic musician who passed away on September 23. He was a devotee of Carnatic music and he took to playing the nagaswaram with the utmost devotion. He will be remembered for a long time along with John Higgins for his devotion to and love for Carnatic music.
The write-up was silent on Skelton’s guru Saidapet Natarajan (who is seen in the photo along with Bill). As a young boy I grew up at Saidapet, Chennai, and have seen Bill playing along with Natarajan during the annual festival of the Subramania Swamy temple. Though I did not see or hear about him since, the tribute brought back the old memories. I did not know him personally but the news of his death did create a sad feeling.
In the passing away of William Skelton (“Bill”), my wife and I have lost a dear friend. His love for Chennai was abiding to the core. A wonderful human being with an amazing sense of humour, he had a large circle of friends in the Chennai cultural milieu. His personal leadership of the Colgate University student groups which he brought to Chennai once in two years won our hearts. He was an excellent host, and our visits to his lovely home in Colgate remain indelibly etched in our memory. It is sensitive Americans like Bill who helped build bridges between our two countries. Bill’s friends in Chennai should perpetuate his memory in some enduring form.