The face behind Mercy’s Orchestra class

Mrs. Marianne Corrigan plays her favorite violin which she has had for over 20 years.

“There is a true beauty in music. It can’t be explained.”

Orchestra teacher Mrs. Marianne Corrigan has been playing the violin for 61 years, and she knew she wanted music to be a big part of her life ever since she was in the third grade. She hopes to continue to play for as long as she can hold a violin.

It was her music teacher, Miss Stanton, who allowed her to recognize the love for music she never knew she had.

“I loved her,” said Mrs. Corrigan. “She was a brilliant teacher and I immediately said, ‘I want to do that when I grow up.’”

However, it was her first violin teacher who showed her what kind of a music teacher she wanted to be.

“My uncle was my first orchestral music teacher, and he made me cry every lesson,” she said. “I learned from that that I would bend over backwards to make sure nobody ever cries when I am a teacher.”

Mrs. Corrigan continued to improve her skills as a musician and her love of teaching only grew. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1967 and got her first job as a band and general music teacher. Coming to Mercy, according to Mrs. Corrigan, was one of the biggest blessings in her life.

“I was at a band camp and a lady named Mrs. Witte said I had been recommended for a part-time job,” said Mrs. Corrigan. “I had been retired for 10 years but I said, “You know, I might be interested in that.’”

Fast forward four years, and Mrs. Corrigan is now saying goodbye to the seniors — students who have been with her since the very first day she started at Mercy. She described it as a bittersweet and hard goodbye to the girls she’s had for so many years.

“My students are the nicest girls I have ever met in my life, and they [are] just beyond talented,” she said. “The kids are wonderful, the staff is wonderful, the people that I get to work with are the friendliest, warmest people I’ve ever met. It’s just a really good place to be.”

Mrs. Corrigan also described Mercy students as some of the most dedicated students she’s had.

“In terms of the orchestra involvement, we’ve always done so much, and [we] are really involved in school events.”

This year, as in the past, the class performed at Pizza, Jams, and Jeans, various retirement homes, the auction, the winter and spring concerts, and much more. They will also be performing at the Valedictorian and Salutatorian Tea. This year, the orchestra will have eight groups competing at the Solo Ensemble State Festival on March 17. There will be four soloists performing, as well as duets, trios, and a quartet.

The orchestra will also be performing at the Spring concert this year on May 17. The theme is hope, so the girls will be playing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift, along with some pieces by Mozart.

“Not only do I feel proud as a teacher, I feel proud as grandmother and get really obnoxious bragging about my kids,” she said with a laugh.

“I want to stay here as long my health holds out and as long as this is a fun place to be. This is not a job; this is just pure joy. It has never been like a job, and I look forward to coming to my kids every day.”