Robbie Giroir, 60, longtime musical director at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, died Dec. 23 after fighting an acute illness.  

Giroir served for more than 30 years as the musical director at St. Joseph Cathedral and also taught at Baton Rouge Magnet High School for 35 years.  

Besides being a musician and teacher, he was also a pilot and collector extraordinaire, and his home, with an interesting mix of whimsical memorabilia and valuable, one-of-a-kind collectables, was a thumbprint of his life.  

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Robbie Giroir

 

Giroir’s home was filled with musical instruments, clocks, vintage fans, motorbikes, model trains, toy fire trucks, bicycles, fire hats, luxury car grills and Christmas figurines.  

The constant ticking of clocks filled the house, interrupted occasionally by chimes or the call of a cuckoo bird from Giroir’s collection of clocks from Austria. It makes the house “alive,” he once said during an interview with The Catholic Commentator in January 2014.  

“Your house has to be a reflection of you,” Giroir said. “You have to let your pulse be evident in your home.  

“The challenge is to make your life interesting. It’s just natural that I gravitate to interesting objects.”  

Giroir is survived by his mother Myrtis Leblanc Giroir, sister and brother-in-law, Danette and Ronald Legendre and nephews with their wives and children, Ladd, Abby and Landon Legendre and Brant, Brittney and Harper Jane Legendre. He is preceded in death by his father, Robert “Bobby” Anthony Giroir, Sr.  

His musical studies began at an early age, and after earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Education Degree from LSU, he became the organist and the Director of Music at St. Joseph Cathedral, Baton Rouge as well as Director of Choral Studies at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. In the past 15 years, choirs under his direction have performed in England, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The Czech Republic, Vienna, Prague, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and France. In 2013, The Festival Singers of Baton Rouge Magnet High School performed in front of an invited audience at the Vatican for Pope Benedict XVI.  

Former students have gone on to pursue  advanced degrees in every academic discipline. Some now hold prestigious positions as college professors, professional musicians and educators, and Broadway actors.

As Director of Music and the organist at St. Joseph Cathedral, he built a unique and hallowed brand of church music beloved by cathedral parishioners, visitors, and a vast number of viewers who tuned in via television. The cathedral organ, which was built in 1993, was a tremendous source of pride for him and a result of a tireless effort to see a dream come true.  

During his time there, the cathedral acquired two additional pipe organs. Music under his directorship has inspired and uplifted thousands of people who came to know the cathedral as a place of resplendent and majestic liturgical sound, unique to his style and artistic ministry.  

A funeral Mass was held at St. Joseph Cathedral on Dec. 27. Pallbearers were Ronald Legendre, Ladd Legendre, Brant Legendre, Landon Legendre, Dr. Hypolite Landry, Keith Bonnette, and Ken Thevenet.  

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Baton Rouge Magnet High School Choral Department 2825 Government Street, Baton Rouge LA 70806 or St. Joseph Cathedral 412 North Street, Baton Rouge LA 70802.