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Aaron Pratt, Jr.—The Island’s Music Man

By Nina Sayles ’13


Aaron Pratt: The Student

Concert Program from May 23, 1931

Concert Program from May 23, 1931. Aaron Pratt, Jr. ’35 performed Chopin’s Waltz in C# Minor on piano.

Aaron Pratt Jr., Loomis class of 1935, was very involved in the Loomis, Chaffee, and Loomis Chaffee communities almost his entire life. Pratt’s very first connections to the school came about when his father, Aaron Pratt Sr. became the school physician. As a student at Loomis, Pratt was an avid musician, playing in the Loomis Concert Orchestra his entire time at Loomis. Not only was Pratt an integral part of the music program during his time at the school, but he was a dynamic athlete as well, competing with the fencing, cross country, and tennis teams. After graduating, Pratt went on to earn his B. Mus. Degree from the Eastman School of Music in 1939.


Aaron Pratt: The Teacher

Aaron Pratt teaching a student at the piano

After graduating, Pratt did not seem to have gotten his fill of Loomis, and chose to come back as a music teacher. First teaching Loomis students at the Hartford Conservatory in 1949, Pratt soon came to teach full-time in the Loomis and Chaffee schools. When coming to teach at Loomis, Pratt set out to change the face of music at the school. By implementing an arts requirement for graduation with the help of 1967 to 1976 headmaster Frederick Torrey, Pratt ensured that as many students as possible would participate in the music program at the school. He also made sure to expand the offering of courses that the school had. Pratt first began a music appreciation class as well as arranged musical assemblies open to the entire school. He then went on to introduce an electronic music program, something so rare in the time that it was the first of its kind at a New England preparatory school. Each of these additions to the Loomis music program was to benefit the students, and to supply them with a plethora of new knowledge about music.


Aaron Pratt: The Performer

Aaron Pratt playing the piano

As a musician, Aaron Pratt Jr. was well known around the Greater Hartford area and at the Loomis School. With colleague Samuel Gorksy, Pratt played in the Hartford School of Music, now known as the Hartt School, concert series, year after year. In the January 1959 concert, works included a Tocatta by Frescobaldi, and a fugue for two pianos by Theodore Chanler. Pratt also performed at the Hartford Conservatory in 1971 to honor the school’s eightieth anniversary. Later, in 1975, an annual Aaron P. Pratt-James S. Rugen piano concert was begun at Loomis.


Aaron Pratt: The Legacy

Portrait of Aaron Pratt, Jr. ’35

For all of these accomplishments, Pratt was said to be “the music man” (John Ratté, former headmaster) and “A full-time teacher and advisor, and an overtime musician” (Nina Hahn, ’83). After more than thirty years working with young musicians, and twenty-eight years as chairman of the Music Department of the school, Pratt retired, a well-earned retirement indeed. Aaron Pratt Jr. was the “central pulse of the now sprawling [music] program” (Faith Miller, former head of Loomis Chaffee music department), and his legacy will never be forgotten.


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