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Pack to perform in LASO

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By Special to the Monitor

Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Marion Pack is shutting the lid on her instrument case, temporarily, anyway.

For 18 months, starting this summer, Pack and her husband will undergo a new experience as they participate in Senior Missionaries through their church, Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At this time, they do not know where they will be sent or what kind of work they will do for the year-and-a-half mission – some missionaries work in the states and others are sent to third world countries.

She looks forward to this chapter in their lives as an “adventure of our life.” Wherever she ends up, however, Pack will have her violin with her.

A conversation with Pack inevitably leads to a conversation about music. She said music is her life. As a small child, she listened to her mother sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. At age 9 she first started violin with the school music program and for her 10th birthday she was given private violin lessons with Dr. David Shand, professor of music at the University of Utah, with whom she studied through high school and college and who, she said, was “like a Dad to me.”  Pack served as concertmaster in all her schools’ orchestras, and was a member of the civic orchestras in Madison, Wis., Minneapolis Minn,, Provo, Utah, and Salt Lake City as well as in Los Alamos.  

On top of all her music commitments, Pack has managed to raise seven children, five sons and two daughters – all of whom have studied music in various combinations of trumpet, violin, cello, organ and piano – and all include music in their present lives.  She said that they all took music lessons and practiced every day. It was something they just got used to doing, “like getting dressed in the morning,” Pack said. Music continues to run in the newest generations of her family. Many of her 18 grandchildren study music.

Pack has remained active in the White Rock LDS Church and is the director of the 35-voice choir and also the “White Rock Strings.”  

Besides music, Pack has been a Boy Scout leader for 40 years and taught a seminary class at the high school for five years.  She instructed the orchestra at Chamisa Elementary School and Piñon Elementary School from 1990 to 1993. Pack has taught privately for 47 years and in 2008, the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) recognized her with its Lifetime Teaching Award for studio teaching. She currently teaches 17 violin and viola students, arranging recitals twice a year because she feels “learning to perform is essential.”

Of her many activities, Pack said being concertmaster of the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra is “one of my favorite roles because I love playing symphonic music.”    

Friday’s Spring Concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Works included on the program are “The Cowboys – Overture” by John Williams, “Concerto For Trumpet and Orchestra” – 1st Movement by Haydn with student Alex Austell, soloist, the “Rhapsodie For Viola and Orchestra” – 1st Movement by Bloch with student Alisa Romero, soloist, and the Symphony No. 9 –  “From The New World” – by Dvorak.  Tickets will be sold at the door at $15 for adults and $10 for students.