The year was 1970 and Ron and I were graduating from colleges in Rochester, NY—Ron from Rochester Institute of Technology and myself with a Master of Arts degree in Music Theory from Eastman School of Music. Since we would be moving to Denver in the Fall, 1970, we would go to the local newsstand weekly and buy a copy of the Sunday Denver Post. One Sunday, there was a superb article about the Colorado State Music Teachers Association’s upcoming Conference. I thought, “Wow, why have I never even heard of Music Teachers Associations?” That began my association with CSMTA and MTNA for over fifty years.
First, I joined the Denver Suburban Northwest local association but quickly realized that CSMTA needed a new local association in the Lakewood area. Several of us teachers, including Kathy Hammer, Jean Burrows, and Karen Zayez, and with the help of Nina Rockley, Rockley Music Center, soon began the Foothills Music Teachers Association in 1975, in which I served as president for several years. Local associations are at the heart of MTNA. It is so important that independent teachers be recognized as professionals in their field, and supported by state and national associations.
Second, I became a certified music teacher in CSMTA and also MTNA in 1973. In order to be recognized as professionals, music teachers need to have professional credentials, in addition to academic credentials. In 1994 I received the “Certified Teacher of the Year” Award from CSMTA.
At the CSMTA 1970 Fall Conference, I met Mary Elizabeth Clark, publisher and editor of Myklas Music Press and then CSMTA President in 1973, who was a special mentor. Soon I became CSMTA Newsletter editor and then served on the CSMTA Board, beginning in 1973. After serving as CSMTA president 1981-1983, I chaired the MTNA Junior Competitions for West Central Division, and then was elected WCD president 1990-1992. In the meantime, I continued serving in various positions in FMTA and CSMTA.
While teaching in my independent studio in Lakewood, I also became a faculty member and later music department chair at Colorado Christian University, teaching piano, piano class, music theory, and piano pedagogy through 1998. CCU began a series of Faculty chamber music recitals and solo recitals in which I regularly performed. Several of my independent studio students won the honor of representing Lakewood in the Lakewood-Chester, England Music Scholar exchange including Catherine Sailer and Rachel Busch. Interest in musician injury was growing in the 1980’s and Denver hosted the first Biology of Music Making Conference in 1984. It was an eye-opening experience and led me to be a participant in several workshops given by John Bloomfield in 1995 and 1997, and in Coordinate Movement Workshops in Portland, Oregon from 1998-2003. These workshops and study changed how I performed.
In 1998, we moved to Aberdeen, Washington, where my husband had accepted a new job. This meant establishing a new independent studio, accepting a new teaching position at Grays Harbor College, and joining the local and state associations. It also gave me some new opportunities: performing three different times between 1998 and 2010 with the Grays Harbor Symphony—Mozart Piano Concerto for Two Pianos, Beethoven Triple Concerto, and Bach Brandenburg Concerto No 5. A number of my students also won the honor of performing a concerto with the Grays Harbor Symphony over the years, and representing Grays Harbor Chapter in the WSMTA Honors Recitals. I frequently judged for the WSMTA Adjudication program across Washington state and for the National Guild of Piano Teachers.
The Washington state move allowed me to accept a position as MTNA Senior Competitions Chair in 1998, and then to be elected Vice President for Membership on the MTNA Board of Directors. In 2003 I was elected MTNA president. During my tenure, MTNA was invited to the first Beijing Music Festival in the summer, 2004, where I performed in the Zhong Sang Concert Hall in the Forbidden City, and then to the European Piano Teachers Association Conference in Rome, Fall, 2004. In addition, I traveled to many of the Music Teacher State Conferences and Leadership Seminars, speaking frequently on parliamentary procedures, as a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians. In addition, I have had articles published in the American Music Teacher, and Keyboard Companion.
I was very humbled to become an Honorary Member of CSMTA in 2004, and of MTNA in 2005, and to become a member of the WSMTA Hall of Fame in 2011 I received the Grays Harbor College Faculty Excellence Award in 2010. MTNA awarded me the Distinguished Service Award in 2013. Following my MTNA Presidency, I joined the MTNA staff in charge of Membership Development, organizing the 2008 and 2009 MTNA Collegiate Expo/Professional Studio program for the annual conferences. While residing in Aberdeen, I served as pianist/organist for the First Presbyterian Church, and was active in the local PEO Chapter, and local DAR Chapter, as I am today in Evergreen. Ron and I split our time between our two daughters and their families in Denver, and in Portland, OR. Being a member of CSMTA, WSMTA, and also Oregon MTA, plus local associations and overall the national association, has been a formative experience for me as a musician, teacher, and leader. It has been life altering in many ways. Through MTNA I have had the privilege of meeting, working with, and performing with many colleagues and professional musicians. I am a stronger musician, professional, and human being because of MTNA.