Monday, January 16, 2017

New instrument to honor late music teacher’s legacy

A Springfield High School music director is hoping to honor the legacy of former music teacher Isabella Erickson through the purchase of a marimba for the school..    


Isabella Erickson was a music teacher with Springfield Schools for 37 years. When she passed away on June 10 of 2015, her family requested that donations in her memory be made to the Springfield High School music department.

In turn, we in music at SHS would like to honor her memory and extend an opportunity for those who knew her to do the same. Building on the $450 received in 2015, we are purchasing a musical instrument of lasting quality, a 4.3 octave marimba. The instrument will bear a plate engraved with her name, and will honor her memory in music for decades to come.

From today, January 10, the day of her birth, until June 10 of this year, we will accept donations to the Springfield Music Department toward the purchase of this instrument, toward funding an innovative new program making ukeleles available for students to check out from the library, and toward funding new instrument purchases at Riverside, Union and Elm Hill schools. All donor names (unless requesting anonymity) will be listed on a plaque in the SHS chorus room.

The SHS spring concert on May 18, 2017, will feature a world-premiere composition for marimba, snare, timpani and band, commissioned to celebrate the new instrument.

Meanwhile, we are collecting stories of Mrs. Erickson. If you knew her as a colleague, student, friend or neighbor, please share your story with us so we can post them on our Springfield School District website, or (why not?) put them together into a song!

For more information, to share a story, or just to get in touch with SHS Music, contact music director Jim Chlebak: For donations, you may send a check made out to "SHS Erickson Music Memorial" at the school's address: Springfield HS, 303 South Street, Springfield, VT 05156.

Video: Ace, Anthony & Nick of Fairmont High School in Kettering, Ohio  at the marimba performing a song from the rock group Imagine Dragons, the biggest rock music hit of 2013,  titled 'Radioactive'.

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Isabella Erickson died June 10, 2015 at the age of 96. She was born Jan. 10, 1919, to Antonietta Cassanetti and Nicholas Perrotta in Bennington. She married Virgil Erickson in 1962 in Bennington. He predeceased her June 11, 1981.

Their married life was spent in Springfield, where she taught vocal music in Springfield Public Schools for 37 years at the elementary and high school levels. Before her marriage, she began her career in Essex Junction and New York City Schools, where she taught vocal music for six years.

She was an avid tennis player her entire life, still playing into her 80s. She continued to enjoy watching tournaments on television when she was no longer able to play.

Mrs. Erickson attended St. Francis de Sales School in Bennington and graduated in 1940 from Bennington College. Later, she received her master’s degree in music from Columbia University. Her community activities included staff pianist for Vermont Symphony Orchestra in the 1940s, a board member of the Vermont Music Education Association, directed Twin States Orchestra in the 1940s, pianist/organist at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Springfield for more than 25 years, pianist for the Community Chorus and Community Players in Springfield, pianist for the Springfield Senior Songsters, member of the Windsor Trio and a regular performer at the Springfield Adult Day.

She is survived by several nieces and nephews; numerous great nieces and nephews; and great-great nieces and nephews.

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