Checking up! Part III


Editor’s note: This is one in a series of columns.

These three columns of The Music Stand have been devoted to “checking up” on our “retired” Champaign County music educators.

Part III concerns our Urbana Schools’ retirees, and a summary of these persons’ participation in our communities.

Penny Berlin, as noted earlier, began her music teaching career in Mechanicsburg.

Later, she came to Urbana to teach. Although she taught piano privately for many years, her main musical activity now is at Messiah Lutheran Church in Urbana. She provides performances at the church on piano and organ.

I should mention a very musical couple at Messiah Lutheran: Tom and Carolyn Rogers, who are both retired from the Graham Schools. They have provided a ministry of music at the church for a great many years. Tom was librarian at Graham High School, but directed school music prior to the consolidation.

Cherie Hunt never wanted to be a music teacher. She was bent on an elementary classroom. However, Bluffton University required a minor, and she loved music. She was teaching at Urbana Local. At some point the music teacher, Dorothy Packer, grew weary of carrying all the music supplies from room to room, and they exchanged jobs! Cherie loved the work. Since retirement, she has developed a business selling and teaching the use of paper crafts and rubber stamps (by Stampin’ Up). She also sings in the choir and subs as pianist at Grace Baptist Church. She was a long-time secretary for the Champaign County Retired Teachers Association.

Jacquelyn Howell coached the golf team at Urbana University for five years after her retirement. She had, for some years, directed the Senior Citizens Center “Guys and Dolls.” “Guys and Dolls” disbanded, but she continues for special events directing a choral group, “Champaign Singers.”

Howell continues to direct the choir at the Urbana United Methodist Church. However, as she says, she plays golf “eight days a week!”

Gary Salzgaber and his wife, Bette, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Although Bette never taught music, when she and Gary were in college, both played in the Capital University Band.

Both taught in the Urbana Schools, and continue singing in the First Presbyterian Church Choir in Urbana.

They both are active in the Champaign County Retired Teachers Association.

In addition, Gary is a member of the West Central Ohio Community Concert Band. He now is performing on baritone saxophone in the group. His interest in the history of railroads continues.

When I called Worthington to inquire about former Urbana Band Director, Dan Baker, I was told that his wife, Jean, died six years ago, and he is now 94. Sadly, at present, he is unable to respond well to family and friends. We always enjoyed his friendship and stories.

And, finally, there is me. I taught music at Rosewood, and came into the Graham family in the second consolidation. I directed the Graham Band (we didn’t do much dancing, since I was an Ohio State grad). I was Director of Music at Urbana (College) University for some time. Now I work with young (and older) musicians, and enjoy historical research and writing.

As I interviewed each of these retired music educators, I noticed a commonality among them.

All are really enjoying time with their families, and continue to love and practice music. They serve our communities, bringing joy and their talents to every organization. And, I have noticed, they are beloved by current and past students, and by their friends and families. We have much reason to rejoice and applaud their giving spirit. Truly, music is for a lifetime!

By Jan Ebert

Jan Ebert is a retired music educator in Champaign County.

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