How long have you lived in Hermiston?
Most of my life, except for a while in Umatilla. I graduated in 1966, so I go way back.
What do feel being around the students today, accompanying them in jazz choir?
I adore being around the kids. I had a little girl the other day, a freshman, who asked if she could call me grandma. All the kids call me by my first name and they clap when I come in the room. It’s very ego-boosting.
It must be very satisfying to pass down your learning and your love of music, right?
Yes, it is. I had a girl who came to me the other day. She’s taking piano lesson, and she’s working on a complicated piece. She asked me how to do it, and I was able to show her.
What do you think of their work ethic?
They work hard. If you ever come to one of our concerts, you’ll see that. Some of them, especially Man Choir, are very bombastic, but they work hard. They sing, and give it all they got. We have one choir that’s all girls, Electra. Another that’s all boys, and that’s Man Choir. And then there’s jazz choir and chamber choir.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
No. I just play piano here and at church. I go to the Umatilla Assembly of God, and I play the piano there.
Which do you prefer — your congregation or your students?
I like both, because they’re totally different things.
What do you like about performing at church?
Singing songs about Jesus, who I love so much. That’s important to me, as a Christian.
Can you tell me about your faith?
I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior as a little girl, and I’ve been serving him ever since. I go to church regularly, and my husband and I have gone on four summer mission trips to Namibia and Botswana. He built things, and I cataloged the library.
Did you have experience in library work?
I worked for 25 years at McNary Heights Elementary School. The last 15 years were in the library, so I knew how to do that. I also taught music classes to pastoral students there.
What do you get out of your mission work?
I get to help people. We see how much we have in America and how little they have, but how joyful they are. They don’t let not living in a big, fancy house hold them back. It was just amazing, and I’m still friends with them on Facebook.
So what’s the next place you want to go?
Hawaii. I already have plans. It’ll be my 50th state to go to.