Sunday, 09 May 2021

Mildred Pickersgill greatly missed at LCSA; she helped bring classical music to Lake County

Mildred Pickersgill. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Lake County Symphony Association recently lost one of its most cherished members, Charter member Mildred Pickersgill.

She was a driving force in the history of the LCSA and was very active in the establishment and leadership of the organization from the very beginning.

Pickersgill served on the first LCSA Board of Directors in 1977 when it was known as Clear Lake Performing Arts and continued as a board member for many years, until very recently.

She served two terms as president of LCSA, and was also the official historian, compiling a unique collection of albums that were filled with pictures, news articles, programs and posters.

During her many years of service, Pickersgill planned concerts, served as membership chairman and ad sales coordinator, stored youth instruments in her home, and was the librarian who organized and cataloged the large inventory of orchestra music.

She also played her violin in the symphony for about 24 years – from the very first concert in 1978 to 2002.

As historian, Pickersgill wrote many historical highlights of LCSA for its anniversary programs.

It is interesting to read her own words regarding the beginnings of LCSA in 1977. “Our son, Bill, a music major at S.F. State, received a letter in 1977, telling of a plan to begin a classical music organization in Lake County. Jean and Lucien Mitchell, members of the S. F. Symphony and Opera Orchestras, had moved to Lake County, and with some Lake County friends, planned their first meeting. The local newspaper told of the gathering at the Mitchell home. I compared the picture in the paper with my high school yearbook of 1938, and Jean Mitchell surely looked like the Jean Marie Mattos whom I had known at Tamalpais High. She played cello in the advanced orchestra and was an inspiration to me as I played violin in the beginning orchestra. The Mitchells hosted an inspiring afternoon reception in October 1977, and we were encouraged to join the new Clear Lake Performing Arts as charter members.

“There were 75 members who became the first Board of Directors. There was also a list to sign if we wanted to play in the new orchestra. I hadn’t opened my case in 38 years but was encouraged to sign. Our first rehearsal was in March 1978 and the first concert was in December 1978.”

The LCSA has now been in existence for over 40 years and the symphony continues to play at what many say is an extraordinary level for an orchestra of its size. Mildred Pickersgill helped make it all possible.

She died peacefully in November 2020 at 96 years of age.

Charitable donations may be made in Mildred’s name to the LCSA by going to www.lakecountysymphonyassociation.org.

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