Honoring LASO founder

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By Special to the Monitor

When Rosemary O’Connor looks at the date, Dec. 11, circled on her calendar, it is because that is the date of the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. in the White Rock Baptist Church. She doesn’t think about the fact that it is also her 90th birthday.

The twinkle in her eye, the big smile, the cheery voice and her energy all belie Rosemary’s age.  She attributes her longevity to good genes and “keeping active.” Indeed, the good genes came from her mother, a professional singer, and her father, a marathon runner and nationally ranked swimmer.  Both parents had her engaged in life-long pursuits at an early age – violin at age 5 and in the pool before she could walk. Music and swimming have remained important in her life.  

As for keeping active, Rosemary taught Red Cross swimming for 25 years and worked at LASL (now LANL) in the PHERMEX group. Since retirement, she has served on numerous committees and boards, currently serving on the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra board and the Aquatic Center Advisory Sub Committee.  

Rosemary is one of the founding members of the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra from 1947 and still plays violin with the group. She rarely misses a rehearsal and energetically works on publicity, receptions and all the other details that are involved in putting on three concerts a year.

But it is her family that is most important to Rosemary.  Married in 1939 to Leonard O’Connor, the couple moved to Los Alamos in 1947 after he completed his tour with the Navy.

By that time, Rosemary had two children, Lonny and Tom, followed by Ted and young Rosemary who were born in Los Alamos.  

All children were trained in music (flute, oboe, piano and violin) and music continues to be a big part of the frequent family get-togethers. The annual Christmas Concert has become a traditional gift from the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra to the community.

There is no admission charge.  Rosemary is one of 50 musicians who will play a variety of arrangements of familiar, and some not-so-familiar holiday music.  

While Rosemary is the oldest member of the orchestra, there are a number of Los Alamos students who will join the group for this fun concert.  It is always a popular event and sets a festive mood as we enter the holiday season.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.