The Santa Barbara Music Club will start its year with a special free concert at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Emil Torick

Emil Torick

What makes this concert “special” is not the fact that it is free — most Music Club events are — but that it’s dedicated to the memory of Emil Torick (1931-2010), a longtime club member and principal programmer who died last June.

The program will feature violinist Philip Ficsor in three works. With pianist Paula Hatley he will play the wistful and haunting Meditation from Jules Massenet’s opera Thais; with composer-pianist Emma Lou Diemer he will play two Diemer works, the “Elegy” from her Suite for Violin and Piano and the “Aria” from Aria and Scherzo.

The inimitable Betty Oberacker then will play the Piano Sonata No. 8 in A-Minor, K. 310 by Wolfgang Mozart. To close, violinist Lou Torick will take his violinist father’s part in the Trio Brio (with clarinetist Nancy Mathison and pianist Donna Massello-Chiacos) as it performs Torick’s transcription of Mozart’s Quintet in A-Major for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581.

Before he retired and moved to Santa Barbara, Torick had a long and distinguished career as an audio engineer. He was the recipient of every honor and award his professional associations could bestow. The U.S. State Department sent him abroad to represent us at the international conferences of his profession.

Despite a day job and adjunct activities that would have kept any two regular people busy 24/7, Torick found time for his first love — music. During the quarter-century-plus that his job kept him in Connecticut, he was organist and choir director at his church and assistant concertmaster of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. He joined the Music Club immediately upon moving to Santa Barbara, and that is how I met him. Through e-mails and phone calls, we became first allies and then friends.

We met and talked at every Music Club concert, and he was unfailingly helpful and cheerful. We wanted the same things — more music, more musicians, more people listening — and our friendship, though never intimate, was a warm one. When I say that there was something saintly about Torick’s devotion to music and to public service, I am being literal, not ironic.

I miss him very much, and I’m sure that his family, friends and fellow club members feel just the same. Goodbye, Emil, it was nice talking to you.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.