Mary Ann's Notes

Mu Phi friends!

Arriving at the lovely Lakewood United Methodist Church for
our annual SAI combined musicale in February, I found much to admire. The Dallas Consort of Viols were tuning up the beautiful instruments. Susan Scheib, the leader of the group, explained the process whereby she obtained hers. The story had a serendipitous, meant-to-be quality about the find. The organ at the church is dramatic, clean and lean, with an arch of trumpets at the entrance to the chapel. Vicky Suarez, an SAI flutist, played a familiar Bach suite; her tone was particularly fine. After the concert, we talked flutes. She’d acquired a new Miyazawa, an excellent brand and beautifully made. At another combined event, I played with a harpist whose instrument was on loan from a school. Her mother had sold hers years before, and forgiveness was pending.

A woman in a purple shirt smiles for the camera.

All these sights and sounds build memories. Musicians have been blessed by both memories and futures. We can remember past delights and anticipate new ones after many hours of preparation. Our chapter looks to a future with changes. The Dallas Library Concert Season has resumed with live performances. The first, with our own Leslie Spotz accompanying Ivo Ivanov, was splendid. A full six concerts will complete the season. More importantly, Andrew Anderson, the music librarian, will be taking over the administrative duties. We will continue support, of course, but his involvement allows for continuity. And the chapter will have new officers starting in May. If you would like to be on the committee, please let me know. I will be announcing a nominating committee at the March 4 meeting. Recently, someone advised me “Just say yes” even though the request wasn’t shared. Do the same if you can.

Mary Ann Taylor


March: Duos are Delightful!

Monday, March 4, 7 pm
Location: Home of Pat Suitt
Host: Pat Suitt

Program: Pat Suitt and Margaret
Mulvey-Claiborne – piano duo Excerpts from Billy the Kid, arranged for two pianos by Aaron Copeland

Note that our March meeting will be on the FIRST Monday in March, March 4, due to Pat Suitt's piano tuning schedule and another performance that Pat and Margaret will be giving.

Zoom login at about 7:15.


April: Connecting with Collegiates

April - don't forget this is a luncheon!
Saturday, April 13, 11 am
Location: Lakewood United Methodist Church – fellowship hall
Hosts: Mary Alice Rich and Mary Williams 2443 Abrams Rd Dallas TX 75214

Program: Collegiate recital, awarding Scholarship Pot luck luncheon: Please bring enough food for guests.
RSVP what you are bringing to Mary – [email protected] and replying to all.


Last Meeting


Cherie Bell, beautifully accompanied by Booker T Washington Arts Magnet student Tinashe McGowan, sang a Tribute to Tony Bennett. Julie Schmitt performed two piano pieces by Mompou and two by Mark Hayes. 

We discussed new developments and more options for our Concert Series.



Mu Phis and SAIs gathered in our annual Musicale in February with performers from both groups.

The Dallas Consort of Viols played three Fantasias by Alfonso Ferrabosco the Younger. The Consort players were: Trebles: Susan Scheib, Haley Moore; Tenor: Susan Poelchau; Bass: Marsha Heinkele

Viol Consort-SAI-2024

SAI flutist Vicky Suarez with Marilyn Rogers at piano played Bach’s lovely Orchestral Suite No 2: Minuet and Badinerie


SAI duet of Judy Dobbins, flute and Gary Dobbins, trumpet played a trio of jazz duets.

Dobbins-Judy,Gary-SAI 2024

Our Mu Phi stars Duo Atesorado: Amy Canchola, soprano and Noe Garcia, guitar played five works by Spanish and Mexican composers.

Thanks to Mary Alice Rich, who was our host at Lakewood United Methodist Church for our Joint meeting. All Mu Phis attending were up to the task of bringing lots of refreshments for our after-concert snack.


Chapter News


Thanks to Mary Alice Rich, who was our host at Lakewood United Methodist Church for our Joint meeting. All Mu Phis attending were up to the task of bringing lots of refreshments for our after-concert snack.

Update on Anam Opera


Claudia Jameson and Susan Poelchau enjoyed presenting another performance of Mary Alice Rich’s opera, Anam the Witch and Beatrice the Beautiful at St. Christopher Episcopal Church, sponsored by Pro Musica. It’s always fun to work with our talented young singers! The opera was also viewed online by the Twin Cities Alumni Chapter.

Susan Barksdale, from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Alumni Chapter wrote to Susan:

I am happy to report that your delightful opera will be shared with the Minneapolis-St. Paul Alumni Chapter at its virtual meeting on February 9. Thank you for including the names of all concerned in its production and performance. Could you also send me any information on its background and/or creation? I believe you may have mentioned grant money from Mu Phi or another organization. Am I remembering this correctly? I would love to share all this with the chapter. Thanks in advance!

Mary Alice replied: We are THRILLED that members of your Twin Cities Alumni Chapter will be viewing our children's opera!!! Thank you for your belief in this project🎵. Some history:

• Claudia Navarro Jameson and I wanted to write an opera for children based on a Mexican folktale. I asked my cousin Kitty Hulbert if she could help us find one. She found one but it was extremely violent (as so many fairytales are). So Claudia used the original as a launching point to write her own libretto about misunderstandings between people, anger, making bad decisions, but then making amends and finding forgiveness.

• We performed excepts from our opera for the Dallas Alumni Chapter and received much encouragement to apply for the Helen Haupt MPE Grant for the purpose of performing it in underserved schools. We were awarded enough to take our opera into three such schools.

• Recently we were given an additional grant from Dallas Pro Musica to perform it at St. Christopher's Episcopal School in February. Pro Musica is sponsoring our children's opera which will be performed Sat. Feb. 10 at St Christopher's Episcopal School - Parish House at 3:00.

You probably already know how grateful we are for support from the MPE International Convention which provided funding there to pay our three singers last summer. (Claudia, pianist Susan Poelchau, and I donated our services.) And the WONDERFUL response from members like you in the audience has meant so much to us. THANK YOU!

Mary Alice Rich

In addition, Mary Alice wrote: As promised, in honor of our 5th performance of Anam the Witch and Beatrice the Beautiful, I want to express my appreciation for each of these remarkable performers:
• Claudia Jameson put her heart and soul into her portrayal of the misunderstood "witch" just as she did in writing the inspirational libretto about making mistakes, misjudging others, trying to make amends, and the miracle of forgiveness🙏🏻

• Susan Poelchau is a brilliant musician, a superb pianist who can follow any singer, and her compositional insights were truly helpful in the development of this piece🙏🏻

• David Mejía Jr. sings SO beautifully and with joy. It's no surprise he is in great demand. He also is a scholar championing composers from his heritage🙏🏻

• Samuel PJ López is also highly professional. His versatility of beautifully singing Tenor or Baritone literally saved the day when illness or conflict of schedule came up. Beyond that, he sings the role of Beto with the ability to bring out the comedy while making us feel compassion at the same time🙏🏻

• Last but not least, Jazmin Luevano brings to our opera her beautiful voice, dedication, an openness to learning, and her determination to grow as an artist--and I have watched her BLOSSOM as a singer and actor in front of my eyes these past two years🙏🏻


PS: Forever grateful for Walteria Watkins Caldwell for her guidance, artistry and leadership during our year of collaboration with Diversitá Opera Arts Company. 💐

Pilot Point Project

Phyllis Wilson gave us details at our January meeting about her project to bring music enrichment to her community of Pilot Point, a cultural desert for children. At the moment Phyllis and her colleagues offer a hand chime choir and vocal choir for elementary children and music and art experiences for preschoolers. Phyllis is applying for a MPE Liana K. Sandin grant this month. She decided (probably correctly) that it would be hard for the Dallas MPE membership to contribute to her project since she lives so far away, so this grant money would go directly to Phyllis' project. She needed recommendations and received two glowing letters from Susan Poelchau and Claudia Jameson to accompany her application. Good luck Phyllis!


Website Update

Mary Williams reported on the state of the website and the ongoing frustrating problems with GoDaddy, to whom we pay an annual domain and hosting fee and whose developers she is using to create our new website. With some help from one of the GoDaddy staff, she was able to update our meeting announcement and concert programs. A work order for more changes (upgrade sloppy formatting on concert page, add performer photos, and add last concert) a week ago has not resulted in that work being done. We are nearly finished and will have this March newsletter posted at some date in future plus the November newsletter added. She will also update the Convention page. So - the end is in sight.

A website with the words'mu pi edison dallas alumni chapter'.

Member News

Bouras and Beyer-2021-TMEA

Our members Ashley Bouras and Lisa Beyer already have a reputation in classroom music circles as great presenters for colleagues. They are off again!

Ashley says: Lisa and I are SO EXCITED to be invited to present Mindful Movement at AOSA 2024 Conference in Des Moines, Iowa!!!! Thank you, Julie K. Scott for the encouragement to apply. Getting to do this with my best friend is special beyond words.

Suor Angelica-Akosua

Akosua Adwini-Poku, SMU graduate student and MPE member from Atlanta, appeared in the short opera Suor Angelica at the SMU Meadows School of the Arts production.

Akosua Adwini-Poku, SMU graduate student and MPE member from Atlanta, appeared in the short opera Suor Angelica at the SMU Meadows School of the Arts production.


Martha Neal, Nancy Laine’s mom, is now living in assisted living and is doing the best she can.


Patricia Crenshaw Obituary - August 13, 1930 January 31, 2024

Patricia Sam Crenshaw passed peacefully from her earthly life on January 31, 2024. She was born in Dallas, Texas, on August 13, 1930, to Harry and Rowena Crenshaw. Patricia graduated from Sunset High School in Dallas. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with highest honors, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice and Performing Arts, and graduated the University of North Texas with a Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance. Patricia devoted her professional life to music education, training classical singers, conducting choral groups, and performing her musical comedy show. She taught music education in the Dallas Independent School District at Margaret B. Henderson Elementary for 25 years and Lakehill Preparatory School in Dallas for 15 years. As a classically trained singer and musician, Patricia supported the arts by singing as a soloist and chorus member with The Dallas Opera and the Dallas Civic Chorus over 20 years. She conducted and toured internationally with the Dallas Girls Chorus. She also served as Musical Director of the Chancel Choir at Casa View Christian Church and the Chancel Choir at Kessler Park United Methodist Church for decades. Upon her retirement, she continued to sing and contribute her extraordinary musical talent with the Chancel Choir of Christ Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.

Patricia's musical genius, comedic timing, and dry wit excelled when performing her infamous one-woman hat show, Comedy Tonight. With outrageous lyrics and flamboyant hats, she shared her songs, poems, stories, and life experiences while providing unforgettable memories in over 1,800 shows, 38 states, and 50 years of musical fun. "If music is a remedy and laughter lifts the blues, then Pat's Hat Lady show will cure what's ailing you!"

Patricia served on the boards of several community organizations including The Choristers Guild, Mu Phi Epsilon, American Guild of Organists, and The Oak Cliff Lion's Club. She devoted countless volunteer time to church ministries, outreach, and civic pursuits in the Dallas area throughout her lifetime. Patricia is survived by Harry and Gana Crenshaw and family, Sam and Shelley Crenshaw and family, Jane and Emily Gaines, the McKenzie/Nagorka family, Dr. Rene Schmidt, the Van Amburgh/Folsom family, and a host of fabulous friends she considered family. Patricia's family and friends wish to thank The Villages of Dallas Care Team, her caregiver LaTonya Traylor, the VITAS Healthcare Team at Methodist Medical Center Dallas, and Dr. William Howard for their professionalism and personal devotion to Patricia.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, February 17, 2024 at 2:00 pm in the sanctuary of Christ Church Dallas, 534 West 10th Street in Dallas, Texas. The Rev. Dr. Fabian Villalobos and Rev. Andrea Conklin, Deacon, will officiate the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given in memory of Patricia to Christ Church Dallas, 534 West 10th Street, Dallas, Texas 75208.

Published by Dallas Morning News on Feb. 14, 2024.

From Fran Pearson: The service was at my church, Christ Episcopal Church in Oak Cliff, which Pat had attended about twelve years. She was active in the choir, and Rene Schmidt the organist, was a dear friend. He spoke at the service and we all laughed at his quotes. There were many people and choir members from Kessler Park U.M.C. which she had served all her life before moving to CEC. The sound of all the people singing together was inspiring, as we have a tiny congregation. She also was remembered by Deacon Andrea Conklin for serving the children's ministries with her wit and wisdom.  Pat gave her hat show as a fundraiser for the church (I think twice) and many remember the fun we had; it was a packed house. Pat and I sang Panis Angelicus as a duet pretty often (she sang tenor) for special occasions. Tena was there on Saturday in Purple! We will all miss her.


Concert Series

We have had four excellent concerts LIVE at the Central Library Auditorium this spring so far - two more to go.

Ivo Ivanov, violinist from FW Symphony with Leslie Spotz, our Mu Phi Professor of piano from Tarleton started our season.

Spotz and Ivanov-2024

Seonghun Jeong, piano substituted last minute for Eldred Marshall who injured his hand. Seonghun is an advanced student of Carol Leone at SMU who was ready to play and did so beautifully! (Dr. Leone is a good contact for future performers.)

Seonghun Jeong-MPE-2024

Noe Garcia, classical guitar - our own member, played a wonderful program and added Laurel Ornish on castanets and Maria Vallejo on flute for some Spanish and South American music.


On February 25th the Texas Flute Society with their many flutists, a cellist and pianists for a varied and interesting program of soloists, duet, trio and large group.

Flutes United-2024

On Sunday March 4th we will have a new pianist, EunAe Lee, who teaches in North Dakota (read: won't have her own audience here - please come!). She has been a prize-winner in many competitions and has advanced in others including the Cliburn. She will be playing a program of Beethoven, Ravel and Chopin and would appreciate some Mu Phis and friends in the audience.


We finish concerts on March 10th with the flute section of the Dallas Asian Wind Orchestra in another interesting concert.

Dallas Asian Winds

Future of Concert Series


Andrew Anderson, head librarian for the Fine Arts Division, has made us an offer we couldn't refuse. He has suggested the Library take over running our series starting in fall, keeping our name on it. A transition is planned with Andrew and our concert team as we provide him with performer database, sample confirmation letters and programs and schedules. The Library is also in a position to do more promotion of the series than we are able to do, and this may be the way to keep our legacy going.

We have already seen more participation from the Library with posters visible in the library with our series on it and our series listed on their events page on their website. (not done in the past). This could be a life-saver for us with our aging-out volunteers and/or members not willing or able to participate to the extent needed to run this series.

Susan Poelchau would like to honor Andrew at the close of the spring season. She proposed that we do a concert of Mu Phi composers at the Library, most likely in fall, to allow our Mu Phi member composers and performers to share and learn pieces, and include some of Andrew’s compositions as well. He has been our champion over the years and has an interest in maintaining our series. In addition, Mary Ann Taylor is writing a story for the Triangle about the concert series, Andrew Anderson, and our collaborative future with the library.


Next Meeting

Saturday, April 13, 11am
Lakewood United Methodist Church


Grants and Scholarships

We are quickly approaching the deadline for the 2024 cycle of Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation scholarships and grants! Please remember that all scholarship applications are due March 1 (by midnight, CST)! The only exceptions to this deadline are the Eleanor Hale Wilson Summer Scholarships (due April 15). We anticipate receiving a lot of applications in the coming days, but there are still many awards with few or no submissions! As of today, there are NO applications for many of the awards.

You were sent a list of awards with no applications, but if you are missing yours, contact Mary Williams [email protected] to get another copy.