MELISSA M. BROWN

Obituary
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MELISSA M. BROWN - BURLINGTON - Melissa M. Brown, 78, passed away peacefully in the Vermont Respite House on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, after a long and courageous, yet graceful, battle with cancer. She was born on Feb. 26, 1934, in Philadelphia, Pa., the daughter of the late Joseph Layton Moore II and Rose (Buckson) Moore. She grew up in Ridley Park, Pa., where her father was the supervising principal (superintendent of schools). She had a very close family with three brothers. She started playing cello in elementary school. One of her teachers was Elsa Hilger of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She also studied with Orlando Cole. Upon graduation from high school, she went to Oberlin (Ohio) Conservatory to study music, and received a Bachelor's in Music in 1956. At Oberlin, she met and later married Peter M. Brown, a fellow cellist. After graduation and marriage, she traveled to Houston where she and Peter played in the Houston Symphony under Leopold Stokowski for one year. She then went with her husband to the University of IllinoisUrbana/Champaign for graduate school. A connection at UI-Urbana led them to a position at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, where they stayed until the mid-'70s. While at LSC, she helped organize the Second Saturday Young People's Theater, a series of cultural entertainment opportunities for kids, the Athenaeum Players Chamber Group that featured LSC music students and faculty, and the original Northeast Kingdom Orchestra for area K-12 musicians. She also performed with the Northern Lights Ensemble, a group of professional chamber musicians. She played a vital role in starting and conducting the String Training Orchestra, a beginning orchestra of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association. She also performed and toured for 10 years with the Alcott Ensemble, a piano quartet of women that she helped form. She began playing in area symphony orchestras (Dartmouth Symphony, VT Philharmonic, VT Symphony) in the early 1960's. She enjoyed her time in these groups, most notably under the baton of Maestro Efrain Guigui. Her Vermont orchestra career culminated in retiring after 50 years with the VT Symphony Orchestra in a concert, April 30, 2011, that incidentally featured YoYo Ma as the soloist. She was very active in private teaching and coaching of ensembles, an activity that gave her great enjoyment until very late in life. For many years, she used her house and garage as the site of summer camps and concerts for both youth and adults, including the Essex String Camps. As a teacher, she taught music in schools in Lyndon Corner and St. Johnsbury. She also traveled to Hanover, N.H., to teach. She ended her school music teaching career with several years of service in the Essex Junction schools. She moved with her daughters, Lucy and Anna, to South Burlington in the mid-'70s, and lived there until her death. Although born outside the state, she considered herself a Vermonter. She was predeceased by her parents; and two brothers, Joseph Layton Moore III and James Buckson Moore. She is survived by her daughters, Lucille "Lucy" of Arlington, Va., and Anna and her granddaughter, the light of her life, Thea Rose, of Fairfax, Va.; brother, William Moore of Rehoboth Beach, Del.; and several loving nephews, nieces and stepnieces, sisters- and brother-in-law, cousins, and great-nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind an immense group of loving colleagues and friends. A Service of Remembrance and Celebration of Life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 152 Pearl St., Burlington, on June 22, 2013, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name should be made to either the Ovarian Cancer Alliance, printable donation form available from 901 E. St. NW, Ste. 405, Washington, DC 20004, or online at www.ovariancancer.org/donate/ ; or the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, www.vso.org.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Mar. 3, 2013
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