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An online magazine for alumni and friends of U-M.
A life's harmony
Organ professor celebrates 60 years of teaching; longest tenure in U-M's 190-year history
For the past 60 years, Marilyn Mason has been going to work, teaching students the complex arrangements and beautifully haunting tonal qualities of the organ. While there have been great changes since 1947 at the University of Michigan, there has been one constant: Marilyn Mason has no plans to slow down.
Retirement? Forget it.
“She has seen the organ program, and for that matter, the whole school, through many periods of growth and change,” said Christopher Kendall, dean of the U-M School of Music, Theatre, & Dance. “Because of her incredible generosity in terms of support for scholarships and giving her time, Marilyn has assured that the organ program at U-M will be one of tremendous distinction well into the future.
Often referred to as MM or Madame by generations of students, Mason has helped graduates find positions in churches and on faculties around the country. A Fisk organ at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance bears her name; the instrument was built according to Mason’s specifications and is modeled after the great baroque Silbermann organs played by Bach.
“Her musical prowess is unmatchable,” said former student Michele Johns, who teaches classes on church music at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. “She has an uncanny sense of human nature, and embodies the best qualities of a teacher. She goes full throttle through life.”
On Oct. 1, the annual Conference on Organ Music will honor Mason, known for breaking down barriers in what was once a male-dominated profession, and for her vast international performance career. The conference, which Mason founded in 1960, will be held at U-M.
In a special performance beginning at 8 p.m. in Hill Auditorium to honor Mason, former and current students will perform. The concert is free and open to the public.
To interview Marilyn Mason, contact Rachel Francisco, (734) 764-0594 or email@example.com.
Contact: Rachel Francisco
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Contact: Betsy Goolian
Phone: (734) 647-4411