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Phelps, Marcia Grunwald

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

 

Marcia Phelps

1939 - 1998

 

Grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois.  Moved to Evergreen with her husband and family in 1971 from Arvada.

Her husband, Dick Phelps, was one of the founding members of the Evergreen Chorale, but it was Marcia's name that was synonymous with the organization for decades, well after her sudden death in 1998.  Dick was one of a half dozen or so who responded to an ad in the Canyon Courier in January, 1972, inviting interested parties to show up at the home of Ruth and Roy Seeber in the Brook Forest area with the purpose of forming a singing group of better-than-average voices.  For 40 years the Evergreen Chorale has had a reputation for high-quality productions.

The Seebers very much ran the Evergreen Chorale during those early years; but as they prepared to leave Evergreen in 1976, they looked for others who could take over.  Marcia shared an interest in the chorale, but not her husband's talent.  Marcia "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket," according to daughter Linn Casados, who lovingly said the family always encouraged Marcia to stick to the business side of things.  Thus, she became the Business Manager of the Evergreen Chorale in 1975-76, serving until she died.

As the Business Manager, she worked hand-in-hand with the Musical Director, coordinating auditions, rehearsals, and productions.  She handled the details and arranged for accommodations for guest conductors when they came from out of town.  She helped with rounding up choreographers and directors and had responsibility of rentals of scripts, contracts regarding payment of royalties, and coordination of people to clean the theatre.

The telephone for the Evergreen Chorale rang into the Phelps residence, and Marcia was essentially on call 24/7, according to the family.  In addition to the accounting, she handled all the reservations by phone or mail. Getting bulk mailings out often meant parties of volunteers gathering in the Phelps living room to stuff, seal, and label envelopes.

When Center/Stage underwent extensive renovations in the late 1980s, Marcia was referred to as the "general contractor" because she solicited contractors to volunteer time and materials and coordinated activities.

Marcia's presence is still evident at Center/Stage.  A large portrait of her hangs in the lobby, and "Marcia's Garden" graces the entryway in her memory.  For someone who couldn't carry a tune, her role with the choral group kept them in harmony for many years and blended the Chorale with the community at-large as only a maestro could do.

In the early days, Marcia was involved with the school and sports activities of her three children -- on the board of Midget Football Association, active with the PTA at Bergen Elementary, and a room mother numerous times.

source:  Lindy Casados