Nancy S. Bidlack, 1947-2012

Nancy Shook Bidlack, 65, of Bethlehem PA passed away in her home, on December 23rd, 2012 after a long battle with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Nancy was a professional cellist, music teacher, and performer. She taught in the Lehigh University and Moravian College music departments for many years, and also privately. In addition, Nancy was principal cellist of the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra for the duration of its existence. She was also principal cellist of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and performed regularly with the Bethlehem Bach Festival Orchestra.


Nancy and Jerry Bidlack in their youthNancy and her husband, Jerry Bidlack, founded the Young People’s Philharmonic and the Junior String Philharmonic in 1976, touching the lives of many young musicians in the Lehigh Valley. She conducted the JSP from its inception until the spring of 2010. She most recently engaged eight young musicians from these orchestras in a string quartet program.


In the summer of 1970, Nancy began teaching and coaching at Kinhaven Music School in Weston, Vermont, where she also met her husband, Jerry. She became director of admissions in 1981, and later founded Kinhaven’s Junior session in 1990 for middle school students. In 2004, Nancy added to her duties the position of Director of Kinhaven. She resigned all her positions after the summer of 2010, due to the progression of her illness.


Nancy’s battle with ALS was valiant and full of courage. She kept her spirits up, which we believe contributed to the unusually long course of her disease. Many friends and family came to enjoy her company, her laugh, her wit, and her glamour. She is survived by her husband, Jerry of Bethlehem, her daughter, Molly of Philadelphia and two sons, Robert who currently resides in Brazil, and Douglas of Bethlehem. Nancy and Jerry’s son, Benjamin, predeceased her. She also leaves behind two sisters, Mary Shook Diegert of Vestal, NY and Christine Shook of New York City.

Published in the Allentown Morning Call on Dec. 28, 2012