Darlia Conn, one of the School of Music’s longest working accompanists, is retiring. We reached out and asked her a few questions about her time at Lee and this is what she had to say:
“I started working in the Department of Music at Lee College many years ago when Dr. David Horton was the Chair and we were located in an old World War II relic in the space that is right across from the current Deacon Jones Dining Hall. He asked me to teach non-music majors who wished to play the piano. That is where it all began. I had earlier taught piano lessons in a private studio in Cleveland and was myself a graduate of the department.
About the same time, I began accompanying for the occasional vocal student in Mrs. Horton’s studio. Accompanying had always been my first love. Memorization is not necessary, and it is a less solitary occupation. I also love the wide range of music that you get to practice. As a student, accompanying had provided my work-study opportunity. It became my main focus after I completed a Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1995. That was the Fall that we opened the new Curtsinger Building.
As I am married to Paul Conn, president of Lee for the past 34 years, all of Lee University has also been my life’s occupation. However, being part of the School of Music for more than 30 years has given me a home on campus. Our faculty and students are the ones I know the best and with whom I have been able to share life. It has been such a privilege! I have been an advocate for the School of Music wherever I go and will continue to do so.
Having officially retired and moved out of my studio, I will still stay involved with music at Lee University, not because it is required of me, but because it is my first love. For all the music majors at Lee, my advice is to work hard and learn to listen with your heart as well as your ears. You are the blessed ones who can make music your life’s work.”
Thank you for all of your love and contributions to this school. You surely helped make it the special place that it is!