Putnam – Salomeja “Sally” Nasvytyte-Valukas, 97, mezzo-soprano and later a librarian died Monday evening October 23, 2017 at Matulaitis Nursing Home in Putnam, CT. Wife of the late Vytas Valukas. Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, on March 5, 1920, she was the daughter of the late Mothiejus and Solomeja (Bamaityte) Nasuytis.
In 1937 she graduated with honors from gymnasium and started studies of modern languages at the University of Vytautas the Great in Kaunas (1937-39). She studied singing at the Conservatory in Kaunas (1939-41). After closing of all the higher institutions of learning by the occupying German forces, she continued her singing studies with a private teacher. 1942-44 she was a soloist in the State Theater in Kaunas, appearing in six different productions of opera and operetta. While a refugee in Germany she attended the opera School of the Stuttgarter Musik Akademie, doing extensive concert work in addition to her studies.
After settling in Chicago, in 1954 she acquired a B.A. degree in modern languages; in 1959 she completed requirements for major in music. While in Chicago she performed with Lithuanian Opera Company, gave 2 solo recitals of her own, participated in Goodman Theater production of Purcell’s opera Fairy Queen, and sang lead in Leon Stein’s opera DEIRDRE concert version and the world premiere of McKissac’s The Spanish Songs with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra at the Art Institute. In 1961 S.V. received Master’s degree with honors from Columbia University School of Library service and 1962—80 was employed as a librarian by Yale University. In addition to her professional duties there, she continued to appear as a soloist in Lithuanian concerts on the East Coast. In 1965 she returned to Chicago to sing the world premiere of Arthur Custer’s cycle of the Songs of the Season’s with Chicago Chamber Orchestra. In 1974 she performed the role of Mother Abbes in the production of Sound of Music by the Unitarian Players of New Haven.
In 1965 she organized a commemorative concert of Lithuanian composer Kazys Viktoras Banaitis, whose archives she inherited, at the Little Caraegie Hall in N.Y. Afterwards she devoted several years to organize, publish and transfer the composer’s huge archives to Lithuania, which after 50 years of Soviet occupation, become free in March 11, 1990. Thus the prominent composer’s K.V. Banaitis works were returned to the history of Lithuanian music.
As a member of the Federation of Lithuanian Women’s Clubs, Salomeja Valukas organized numerous musical and literary events in New Haven, where she resides since 1961.
Sally is survived by her cousins Irene Ivaska, Donatas Banaitis, and Sigitas Banaitis. She was predeceased by two sisters Giedra Nasuytis Guvauskas and Donute Nasuytis Gabrijolavicius.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial to be held on Friday, October 27, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. in the Chapel at Matulaitis Nursing Home, 10 Thurber Rd., Putnam, CT 06260. Burial to follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Funeral arrangements and cremation have been entrusted to the Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam, CT. Memorial donations in Salomeja’s memory may be made to the Matulaitis Nursing Home, 10 Thurber Rd., Putnam, CT 06260 or the Immaculate Conception Convent, 600 Liberty Rd., Putnam, CT 06260. For memorial guestbook please visit www.GilmanAndValade.com