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Piano teacher earns national award

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By Kirsten Laskey

 

It was not just years of teaching music that honored Ruth Williamson of Los Alamos a Music Teachers National Association fellow. It was also her charity work to bring music to everyone that earned her the recognition. Williamson received the fellow award during the MTNA convention March 31 in Denver. According to the Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico Inc. newsletter, the fellow program honors deserving individuals and supports the efforts of the national association through a donation to the foundation fund in an individual’s name. Williamson said as a surprise, the PMTNM board chose her to receive the award. “I was extremely honored,” she said. “I’m still blown away by the whole thing.” Williamson started her 32-year teaching career as a piano instructor during her junior and senior years at the Kalamazoo College Institute of Musical Art, Kalamazoo, Mich. Her teaching also took her to an elementary school in Pennsylvania where she served a music supervisor. In 1964, she and her husband Ken, who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, moved to Los Alamos. Locally, she was an accompanist and substitute director for the United Church Sanctuary Choir in Los Alamos, and a part-time and full-time accompanist for the Los Alamos Home School Chorus. “It’s just an exciting profession to see the growth in students,” Williamson said.Additionally, she joined the PMTNM in 1977 and served several officer positions include secretary-treasurer. “I was a piano teacher for 30 years,” Williamson said. “I think it’s a marvelous organization for encouraging music education in all areas.” While Williamson retired from teaching 1988, her work was not finished. She volunteers her music expertise to numerous organizations throughout the community. For instance, she organized and directed the Bethlehem Youth Choir at Bethlehem Lutheran Church; was the Boy Scout Counselor for the music and bugling awards and served as a music therapist for the New Horizons New Mexico Head Injury Camp.  She continues to lead weekly music activities at the Los Alamos Day Out Adult Day Care Center and play benefit concerts as a member of the Hot Flashes Two Piano Quartet, The Vested Interests Two Piano Quartet and The Bach Blues Piano Duo. “I love my volunteer work,” Williamson said. “I share music with the Day Out folks once a week. I learn so much from them; we have a super time together.”“My life is music,” she added. “I’m just very grateful music has been a very important part of my life.”