ARCHDIOCESAN PRIEST, REV. STANLEY R. RUDCKI, DIES
Taught Music and English at Archdiocesan Seminaries
Founded Niles Symphony Orchestra
CHICAGO (May 28, 2013) – Rev. Stanley R. Rudcki, whose career as a seminary music professor and founder and conductor of the Niles Symphony Orchestra, brought symphony classics alive for students and available to people who would otherwise not have the experience, died Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at Holy Family Villa in Palos Park. He was 85 years old at the time of his death and a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago for 60 years.
Fr. Rudcki was born in Chicago on June 13, 1927 and graduated from St. Agnes Catholic School on Pershing Road, which is now closed. While a student at Quigley Preparatory Seminary from 1941-1946, he also studied at the Chicago Music Conservatory. He graduated from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary and was ordained by Cardinal Stritch in 1953.
For four years following his ordination, Fr. Rudcki was the assistant pastor at St. Michael Parish in Orland Park. From 1957 until his retirement from active ministry in 1997, Fr. Rudcki’s assignments placed him in the Archdiocese’s seminary system, where he taught both English literature and music. He was a professor at Quigley from 1957 to 1961 and from 1961 to 65 he taught at Niles College, then a two-year college seminary affiliated with Mundelein Seminary.
During this time, Fr. Rudcki did post-graduate studies in music at DePaul University from 1958 to 1960 and in English at Loyola University (1960-61). He returned to the Chicago Music Conservatory from 1960 to 1965, earning his master’s degree in music, followed by a short stint studying music at the University of Chicago.
Fr. Rudcki continued to teach at Niles College Seminary after it became Niles College of Loyola University. In 1994, the name was changed to St. Joseph Seminary College of Loyola University. He is fondly remembered by his students for field trips to Chicago Symphony concerts and sometimes to movies as well. One of those trips, according to a former student, Dan Welter, now a permanent deacon working in the Archdiocese’s tribunal, was to view the movie, “2001 A Space Odyssey.” The experience sparked a very lengthy literary discussion afterwards, recalls Welter, who also noted that in 1968 it was Fr. Rudcki who conducted the inaugural U.S. presentation of Benjamin Britton’s “War Requiem” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In 1964, with partial funding from Niles College, Fr. Rudcki began the Niles Symphony Orchestra and became its conductor. The Niles Concert Choir was part of that effort as well. He was still leading the group in 1990 when the Chicago Tribune piece, “Niles Orchestra Has Priestly Maestro” (July 3, 1990, by Deepa Arora) highlighted the orchestra’s free summer festival of outdoor concerts on the seminary grounds.
As with his students, Fr. Rudcki wanted to make music available to people who wouldn’t otherwise travel to Chicago for a symphony experience.
Visitation for Fr. Rudcki will take place from 3:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, at St. Alexander Parish, 7025 West 126th Street in Palos Heights. Most Rev. Jerome Listecki, Archbishop of Milwaukee, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Rudcki at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 30, at St. Alexander.
Interment is private. Fr. Rudcki is survived by several nieces and nephews.