I will pass on an instrument of beauty to our community.
Loving daughter contributes her mother’s 18th century Testore violin, and money for its upkeep, to the Reno Chamber Orchestra Endowment Fund at the Foundation. Generations of local students will have the opportunity to play this exquisite instrument.
Evangeline Reese Grant was born in 1897 in Lorain, Ohio. A gifted musician as a child, she entered the College of Wooster at the age of 15. She took over teaching the music department during World War I when her professor was sent to Europe with the U.S. Army. Soon after Armistice Day, November 1918, this professor found himself in London on his way home to the States and arranged with Evangeline’s father to purchase a fine Testore violin. From that time on Evangeline and her Testore were practically inseparable. They lived together.
As a young woman Evangeline performed with both the Los Angeles and Chicago Women’s Symphonies. During the 1920s there were no women in any of the nation’s symphonies or philharmonic orchestras and only two women’s symphonies existed in the country.
In 1934 Evangeline Reese Grant moved to Reno to divorce her husband and raise her two daughters. She was one of the initial members of the Reno Community Symphony Orchestra founded in 1934. In their day jobs the orchestra’s musicians were doctors, lawyers, merchants, chefs, Stead Air Force Base servicemen, and, like Evangeline Grant, teachers.
In the 1950’s the Reno High Pop Band wanted to play Hawaiian songs so she used her perfect-pitch ear to help the students build the first marimba in Nevada. Evangeline taught for many years at McKinley Park School, and today Reno’s successful citizens remember her as their musical teacher.
Evangeline Reese Grant died September 4, 1991.
In presenting the Testore violin to the Reno Chamber Orchestra Endowment Fund, in order that it will continue its musical life, it was the donor’s intent to remain anonymous and to perpetuate the name of Evangeline Reese Grant in connection with that musical life in Reno.