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Kathy Parsons, Oboe: She followed her heart to learn many instruments

Kathy Parsons, Kettle Moraine Symphony oboist

Oboist Kathy Parsons has played with many orchestras over the years but one of her fondest memories was created when she was just 15, playing Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the Catholic Youth Symphony Orchestra. Parsons began her musical career at an early age and never stopped learning new ways to make music. She’s been a pianist, member of  a folk singing group, country rock band keyboardist and church musician.

Parsons is a veteran Kettle Moraine Symphony muscian; her first season with the KMS was in 1983. Her performance background includes the Milwaukee Catholic Symphony, Fox Valley Symphony, Bach Chamber Orchestra as well as various small chamber groups and solo performances.

Music wasn’t Parsons’ only career. Now retired, she earned a bachelor’s of science degree in biology from Marquette University, went on to teach junior high general science and then worked at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center as a cardiopulmonary technician. She also taught piano for 27 years, starting at age 13. In addition to playing with the KMS, she plays piano and oboe at her church.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Germaine Schneider Sanfelippo was my piano teacher at the Milwaukee Conservatory of Music. I was a teenager, and her personality was a big influence on my life.

When did you start playing?I began playing piano at four, oboe at 12, guitar at 20, alto sax at 40 and accordian sometime after 50.

What community activities are you involved in? I volunteer for the humane society, am a dog training teacher and am involved in church activities. (We also happen to know that she spends a lot of time with her horses and grandchildren.)

What do you enjoy most about playing? I enjoy feeling the satisfaction of making music “happen.”

What advice would you give to young musicians? Practice hard. Listen to your teachers, but follow your own heart and choose your own path.