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Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra musician retires after 63 years

Posted at 8:18 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 11:18:55-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif — One Bakersfield Symphony Musician is hanging up her instrument for good after playing in the orchestra for six decades. Mary Moore has been playing the clarinet for over 70 years and she is now ready to retire.

Mary has been playing the clarinet for 73 years, and her love for the instrument began when she was just 8 years old after she watched her friend play the clarinet in their school band.

“I would go and see my friends up there and I thought, this is what i want to do. So, I started playing the clarinet,” Moore said.

Mary began practicing daily and took private lessons. In 1959, she joined the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra.

“It is an expensive profession, and you make very little money, so you have to love it,” Moore said.

And love it she did. Mary played with the orchestra for 62 seasons, the last four accompanied by her furry companion, Autumn. But, now after 6 decades with the Bakersfield Symphony she is putting away her reeds for good.

“Well, the only thing is I won’t have to practice as much,” Moore said.

And, while she will have some much needed free time, it is playing with her fellow musicians that Mary will miss the most.

“It is the rush that you get when you are with a full orchestra and everyone is playing and the feeling of meshing the sounds," Moore said.

While Mary played a big role at the Bakersfield symphony, not only as a musician but as Orchestra Manager and Librarian, she has also made a large impact on the community. According to Mary, she had taught dozens of students throughout her six decades with the orchestra.

“It is gratifying to see them become a success and feel like maybe I had a small part in it,” Moore said.

One of those students followed in Mary’s footsteps and is now the second clarinet player in the orchestra.

“I play together with my students, and we played together all of those years as a student, so it was just a given thing. There was no problem with intonation, no problem with interpretation, we just played like one person,” Moore said.

And, while Mary’s clarinet career comes to an end, she encourages all young musicians to keep following their dreams and, most of all, practice.

“If you love music, you need to practice and if you practice, you will have many rewards,” Moore said.

If you would like to send Mary a card or a letter, congratulating her on her career, you can send them to The Bakersfield Symphony at PO Box 751, Bakersfield, 93302.