IMTA celebrates the life of longtime member Margaret Strong who was awarded (posthumously) a 50-year membership at the Fall 2016 IMTA State Conference at Goshen College. This excerpt from a recent obituary in the Bloomington newspaper highlights Margaret’s wonderful life of service as a piano teacher.
Margaret Ann (Schofield) Strong, 91
FEB. 23, 1925-OCT. 1, 2016
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Margaret Ann (Schofield) Strong, 91, a lifelong music teacher and promoter of civil and human rights, died October 1, 2016, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The cause was complications from pneumonia.
Born on February 23, 1925, in Lockhart, Texas to William M. Schofield and Ethel (Lawrence) Schofield, Margaret attended Baylor University, where she studied Music (clarinet).
During World War II, she left school to work at the San Marcos Army Air Force Base. After that service, she attended the University of Texas, where she earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree (1949) and met her future husband, Douglas Ray Strong.
Margaret and Douglas were married in 1949 and settled in Houston, TX, where Margaret performed and taught piano and where their two children, Narissa and Fred, were born. Margaret was one of only two piano teachers in Houston who taught both black and white students in the 1950s.
The family moved to Bloomington, Indiana, in 1959, when Douglas was hired to be the Head Piano Technician at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In Bloomington, Margaret built her private piano practice and became active in the Indiana State Music Teachers Association and Mu Phi Epsilon, the music sorority. Margaret and Douglas were active politically and in the Unitarian Universalist Church, where Margaret was the Religious Education Director for many years and one of the regular musicians who played for services.
In 1970, Margaret responded to a notice from the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center seeking tutors, and she began what could be called a second (concurrent) career tutoring college music students, preparing them for their Theory, Sightsinging, and Piano Proficiency exams. Some fo her students went on to professional careers as international opera singers, college professors, or music teachers themselves. Margaret fostered and maintained lifelong friendships with her students, and her kitchen was open to them, as well as her music studio. Her “eat ’em ups” were social gatherings for the large community that she loved, and her homemade whole wheat bread was a center of attraction on the menu. Right up to her death, Margaret’s children sent her programs of operas and concerts they attended.
Margaret and Douglas were Lifetime or Charter Members of many civil rights and social justice organizations, including the NAACP, Common Cause, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture. They endowed two scholarships for students at Indiana University (Music Composition and Swimming), and they were members of The Presidents Circle, as donors to the IU Foundation. In 2008, Margaret and Douglas moved from Bloomington to Minneapolis, MN, to be nearer their children and grandchildren.
Margaret was preceded in death by Douglas, in 2011; and her sister, Elizabeth, in 1995. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Narissa and David Bach; son and daughter-in-law, Fred and Rebecca (Dvorin) Strong; three granddaughters, Averil Bach, Aileen Bach, and Emma Strong; and her niece, Margaret Troyer (Dean) and family.
A memorial service was held Sunday, May 21, 2017, 2 p.m., at the Bloomington Unitarian Universalist Church.