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Illinois’ School Band Legacy Remembered

Anna Fay Herron Bush (1921-2016), an Illinois music educator and oboist, was born in Windsor, Illinois on September 12th.  Her father and mother were both public school teachers, and she attended high school in Windsor, and graduated in 1939.  She earn her teaching certificate from Eastern Illinois College in 1946, and the following year received a Bachelor’s of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.   After teaching music in southern Illinois for over twenty years Anna eventually went on to earn her Master’s degree in Education Administration from Eastern Illinois University in 1971.   Throughout her thirty-three year career as a music educator she taught in elementary, junior, and high schools in Clay, Jasper, Crawford and Clark counties.

Bohumir Kryl hired Anna for his Women’s Symphony Orchestra of Chicago to perform during its 1945-46 season before she graduated from Eastern Illinois, and paid her to take two private lessons each week between August and September with Frances Napolilli, principal oboist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.   After joining the ensemble she soon proved herself a skilled principal oboist and a reliable manager of the orchestra.  In addition, she served as the orchestra’s stage manager, drove both the tour bus and instrument truck, distributed weekly paychecks to the musicians, and conducted rehearsals.  However, in late November she learned that her mother had cancer, and Anna left the orchestra to return home.

Throughout her career as a music educator Anna remained a strong advocate for music education in southern Illinois’ public schools, and served as an active member of state and national music and education associations.  In addition she served as a church choir director for her local church in Oblong, Illinois as well as other church choirs near Effingham, Illinois.

The photographs pictured here are from her many scrapbooks, and document both her career as principle oboist for the Kryl Women’s Symphony Orchestra of Chicago, and her thirty-three years working as an Illinois music educator.  For further information and access to the Anna Fay Herron Bush Papers go to this collection finding aid.

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