Jane Little

Jane Little, a symphony bassist who held the Guinness World Record for the longest professional tenure with a single orchestra, died May 15 after collapsing onstage during a performance of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia. She was 87.

"As witnessed by fellow musicians and the audience in attendance, Little collapsed during an encore performance of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” the orchestra said in a news release posted on its website. "Though emergency responders and a medically trained chorus member briefly revived Little," she died later at a hospital.

Little was the orchestra's assistant principal bass emeritus. She celebrated her 87th birthday Feb. 2. On Feb. 4, she performed with the orchestra, marking 71 years to the day of her first concert held Feb. 4, 1945, securing the Guinness World Record for longest professional tenure with a single orchestra, the orchestra said. The news release notes that the orchestra’s application for Little’s record is under review pending final approval by Guinness.

“We can say that Jane was fortunate to do what she loved until the very end of her storied life and career,” the orchestra said in a post on Facebook. “The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was truly blessed to have Jane as part of our family for the past 71 years, and we all miss her passion, vitality, spirit, and incredible talent.”

Little, an Atlanta native, began her musical career as a founding member of the original Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra, the forerunner of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She joined after two years of studying bass in high school.

"The double bass is the orchestra's largest instrument," the orchestra said. "Wrapping one’s hands around a bass requires a great degree of physical strength," which Little, who stood 4 feet 11, "did with ease for more than seven decades."

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