My musical experiences began with piano and later trumpet lessons at around age 12. In our rural area of Pennsylvania, there were small high schools and high school bands but there was the local McAlister Community Band. I played in this mixed-age group and also was given the opportunity to be assistant director.
At Juniata College in Huntongdon, PA, I majored in music education, concentrating on piano and organ, and minoring in brass. I played trumpet in the football band, and French horn in the college symphony orchestra all four years. In my senior year I was the piano/organ accompanist for the college touring choir.
After graduation "as fate would have it" I became Miss Pennsylvania (with actress Shirley Jones as my runner up) and went on to the Miss America contest in Atlantic City, where I had the privilege of playing one of the largest pipe organs in the world (33,000 pipes). As far as I know, Iam the only Miss America contestant to play it in the competition.
Eventually, I taught instrumental and classroom music for 4 years in the Philadelphia area and became director of music in Lake Region, SAD #61 when we moved to Maine in 1971. The middle school (Jr. High) students were ripe for a program of their own, after having a great start with Richard Albert in grades 4 and 5. We had a large and enthusiastic "Blue Jean Band", which is still remembered by many, including former member Natasha Brackett Proctor, now director of the Bridgton Community Band, and others still playing in the local bands.
Music never left my life while I became principal of the Manchester School in Windham and later went on to a career in medical education. I retired from Harvard Medical School in 2000 as Assistant Professor of Medicine and from Harvard Health Publications in 2005 as Medical Content Analyst.
Now I am a grandmother and a great grandmother and like Margaret Berry, an 80 something still playing, still meeting new people through music, and still learning.