Shirley O’Connor, pianist, will be guest artist at a concert as part of the the Grace Lutheran Concert Music Series, Sunday, April 18, at 4:00 P.M. at the church, located at 2041 Madison St. in Clarksville.
O’Connor’s performance will mark seventy-five years since her first public performance. She began studying piano at age five and played at her first recital that year. She was so little that someone had to lift her onto the piano bench. At 11 she began playing for various organizations and church activities. She became a member of the Saginaw Junior Tuesday Musicale and played for many programs Her teachers were Elaine Frueh and Rudolph Puhlman. She received scholarships to attend Michigan State University where she received a B.M. degree in piano and Public School Music. Her piano study was under professor Joseph Evans.
O”Connor did graduate work in Musicology at MSU. Graduate study in piano was under Dr. Forrest Robinson at Central Michigan University where she received her M.M. in Piano Performance. The Marie Marti grant was awarded to her for graduate study by Delta Omicron, international music honorary, of which she is a member.
Shirley began teaching piano at 20 and has continued teaching (with a few breaks) to the present time. She taught music in the Saginaw Public Schools and piano and theory at Saginaw Valley University. She pioneered class piano for youngsters and adults at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Mich. She was also music teacher in the Elk Rapids Schools in Mich.
Throughout most of her career, she has served as organist/choir director at various churches in Michigan and Tennessee. Shirley is a nationally certified piano teacher in the Music Teachers National Association and has been a member for more than 40 years. She serves as an adjudicator for the American College of Musicians adjudicating Guild auditions in various locations in the United States.