A Salute to Marie Boette Part 2

NOTES DA CAPO by John L. Puffenbarger

October 1993

In April 1927 Marie Boette traveled to Richmond, Virginia, where she attended a sectional meeting of the National Music Conference at the Hotel Jefferson. During a breakfast meeting West Virginia music teachers attending this conference discussed plans for an all-state high school orchestra and an all-state high school chorus. The teachers who attended presented many ideas and generated much excitement as they laid plans. Later Miss Boette would serve as conductor of the All-State Chorus in 1932.

She was responsible for much of the development of the first All-State Orchestra and All-State Chorus. In 1928 she became chair of the music section of the Secondary Education Association, and after leaving this position she continued to chair clinics at future meetings of this group.

In 1931 she organized the first a cappella choir in West Virginia while teaching at Parkersburg High School. She also played a vital role in the formation of the vocal music department at the school.

Marie left Parkersburg in 1936 to become associate professor of music at West Virginia Wesleyan College, remaining there until 1947. During this period she compiled her book of West Virginia folk songs, Singa Hipsy Doodle.

She returned to Parkersburg in 1950 to become music supervisor for Wood County Schools. After her retirement she maintained a leadership role for many years throughout the community, where she enjoyed success as a private instructor in piano, organ, and voice, and as a church organist and choir director.

Two years ago Dr. Boette gave $100,000 to the Parkersburg Community Foundation to establish a music scholarship to be awarded annually to a Parkersburg High School graduate. It will provide a minimum of $1,000 to a student who has displayed an interest in and dedication to music.

In establishing the scholarship Miss Boette said, "I have spent a lifetime teaching students in music, and it is my wish to help worthy students of the future obtain their higher education. Higher education is so important, and the cost of education is so great. I want to do whatever I can to assist promoting music students of the future to obtain their college education. The Lord has blessed my life, and now He has given me the opportunity to help others in this way."

Miss Boette is now 98 and lives in Parkersburg at the Colonial House on 23rd Street, where she continues to perform on the piano.