I am so grateful I had the opportunity to work both under Dr. Larsen's baton, and as a colleague briefly at Simpson College. My favorite memory of him happened during a student production of La Rondine. Right before the famous ending of Act II, there is a lovely off-stage soprano accompanied by a recurring 6-note phrase from 1st bassoon. When I say recurring, I mean recurring, the same phrase, same rests, take up a page of music, with a slight change at the end of the moment. There I was, playing along, feeling good, as bassoonists are wont to do, that was having a few minutes of being heard, looking up at Dr. Larsen for my cues. I looked up, looked back to the music, and I must have skipped a line of music, I came in completely wrong. I thought Dr. Larsen was going to hurl that baton at me right through my heart! It was only a rehearsal, thankfully, but he unloaded a tirade on me like no other! We started again, and I did not look away from my music at all for cues, lest that unfortunate moment happen again! At the break, I sought him out to apologize profusely, and it was as though it never happened, he was so amazingly kind and gracious, saying something charming like "oh my dear, don't fret, I'm sure it won't happen again." That's how he was - incredibly demanding, justifiably so, he knew what he wanted out of musicians and singers, and was brutally honest in his opinions. But yet, at the same time, the most gracious individual I have ever known. A man of true grace. The world will miss him, and his legacy will be unending . . . .
– Janean Schaefer Denhart