Phraner Obituary

Leighton Rand Phraner
March 18, 1930 – November 4, 2017

      LEIGHTON RAND PHRANER, 87, of Moodus, CT died at Middlesex Hospital Hospice on November 4, 2017. After spending his early career in New York City, Leighton moved to Moodus in 1977. There he established the Phraner Vocal Studio where he provided singing lessons for over 35 years to hundreds of students of all ages. Those that knew him remember him for his quick wit, a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a lifelong love of singing and acting. He had a great fondness for Gilbert & Sullivan pieces and loved playing the character Ko-Ko in the play The Mikado.

      He is survived by Robert E. Cumming, his partner of 51 years. He was predeceased by his parents, Stanley Lansing Phraner and Dorothy Rand Phraner of Stony Brook, New York as well as a brother, Stanley Phraner, Jr., sisters Elizabeth Phraner Davis, Dorothy Phraner Rowe and Adelaide Phraner Reese. He is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

      An alumnus of Princeton University, Leighton was a protégé of Dr. Bernard Taylor, founder of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and former head of the voice department at The Juilliard School. Leighton served as President of the Connecticut Chapter of NATS for two years (1982-83). Leighton served as an Assistant Editor of Music Journal Magazine in New York City, where he sang lead comic roles for the Village Light Opera Group, Hunter College and Community Opera of New York and The Little Orchestra under Thomas Scherman. He toured the nation as a member of The Singing Editors duo with Robert Cumming in 1975-1978 before the two co-founded the Connecticut Gilbert & Sullivan Society in Middleton, CT in 1980. Leighton studied dramatic arts with Earle Hyman and opera with Patricia Neway at the Mannes College of Music in New York City.

      A memorial service in his honor will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 2:00pm at First Church of Christ, Congregational, 499 Town Street in East Haddam, CT, where Phraner Vocal Studio held student recitals for nearly three decades. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name can be made to First Church of Christ, Congregational.