Mu Phi Epsilon
Dallas Alumni Chapter

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From time to time I have interviewed members of our chapter so that we can get to know each other better.

Interview with Edith Pfautsch
by Mary Williams

Mary: When did you join the Dallas Alum Chapter?

Edie: One of the first things I did when arriving in Dallas in 1958 was to check to see if there was a chapter here, knowing that there was an active one at SMU. My only other affiliation since leaving college was one year with the Champaign-Urbana chapter. So I assume that was when I joined. I knew I would find friends here.

Mary: What offices have you held?

Edie: One of my most enjoyable offices was the five years as Province Governor, coming at a time when I could take off on my own from the family responsibilities, though still teaching kindergarten. (1967-1972) It was great fun meet-ing with the collegiate and alumni chapters from E. Texas to Albuquerque. I remember some of those people to this day. Of course, like the rest of you, I have held several offices right here: three times President, Mu Chi chapter advisor when needed, and no doubt others.

Along with Mary Williams I participated in one of the first music therapy projects. For two years we did music with cerebral palsy patients once a week - playing guitars, using rhythm instruments, etc.

Of course, the latest (last?) office has been chairman of the Sunday Concert Series following several incredible role models including Frances Stuart. This did give me a wonderful opportunity to represent our chapter in receiving a national award from the Professional Fraternities Association several years ago.

Mary: Tell us about your musical background.

Edie: Growing up in a home where music was as essential as breathing, in a small Minnesota town where my father (as superintendent) started the school's music program in 1929, meant his four offspring would all sing and play in-struments. My mother, whose Norwegian immigrant par-ents saw to it that she received piano lessons, followed their example. I accompanied my trumpet-playing brother as he played at all the county fairs, already winning awards, culminating in his 53 years as principal trumpet in the Chicago Symphony. At Concordia College, singing in the choir under Paul Christiansen and being chosen to become a member of Phi Iota Chapter were musical highlights.

Mary: How did you meet your husband?

Edie: Following one year of teaching in a small Minnesota town, I decided that was not my forte and moved to New York with two friends, one of whom "had to go there to finish her thesis on theater." It was a great time to be there. Rent on our East side apartment was $45, breaking down to $15 each. After a year of voice study with a wonderful teacher I auditioned for the chorus which was assembled to sing under Toscanini with the NBC Orchestra and was fortunate to make it. These were unforgettable experiences but also afforded the nice coincidence of meeting the man who would become my husband. Lloyd at that time was a student at Union Theological Seminary also singing and recording with the newly formed Robert Shaw small chorus. I continued to do some solo work and joined the larger Collegiate Chorale once to sing the Beethoven Ninth with Toscanini. Our daughter Debby was born in New York while Lloyd was working on his Masters in Sacred Music at the seminary.

Mary: Tell us about your family.

Edie: Our three boys were born while Lloyd was teaching at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. There was no Mu Phi chapter there but I was probably too busy feeding, clothing and supervising things like piano lessons to attend anyway. We had a wonderful piano teacher who looked like Marie Dressler and required a parent to be present at all lessons and to supervise closely the practice sessions, all recorded in a notebook. I think I learned as much about basic music from those lessons as I did from almost any other source.

The move to Dallas from the Midwest was pretty dramatic. The kids wish we had stayed up there though they did well in music and sports at the Highland Park schools. They are spread around the country now: Debby in the country near Ithaca with vineyard/winery husband and 15-year old son: Eric and his wife and three children live in Iowa, Peter and his wife are here in Dallas and Jon in Fairfax, Virginia. We are watching grandchildren excel (of course!) in music, golf, theater, etc. Last summer we celebrated together our 55 years of marriage together at a beautiful resort in Minnesota.

Mary: What other interests do you have and how do you spend your time?

Edie: Good question. I have done a lot of weaving the past twenty years but it is pretty much on hold now. The loom is still looming, as Lloyd would say. I have given up some of the volunteer jobs I had in the past. It seems that just living takes more time. That and maintenance (going to the Y and walking). I spend a lot of time reading, mostly good novels, old and new, and my favorite magazines like The New Yorker. The concert series is my main contribution to the community at this point but it is definitely time to turn that over to the next person.

Mary: Anything you'd like to add?

Edie: Yes, I would like to say how nice it was that Mu Phi honored Lloyd for his contribution to the music world by awarding him the Citation of Merit at our 1998 convention. Also that they awarded me the Distinguished Alumni Award, much to my surprise. I treasure my years with Mu Phi friends and look forward to more. I would hope that we can recruit other active members with whom to share our love of music.

Mary: Thanks, Edie for letting us get to know you better.

Note: Edie died in October 2011, just after I had seen her at the International Conference in Rochester.

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