Mary H. Anderson lived her life in melody. Along her life’s journey, the gifted flutist invited others to join her in song to discover and embrace their own.
In 1974, Anderson founded the choir with a small ensemble that the Delta College Foundation sponsored, and would serve as its principal conductor until her retirement in 2014. She also served as adjunct faculty at Saginaw Valley State University for 30 years.
“She was the most generous person I ever met. She always encouraged us to be better, and when we had a rough performance, she somehow made us look better than we were,” said Gail Wieck, a Delta Flute Choir member since the 1975-1976 season. “She always let you walk away without thinking your mistakes were your fault. You couldn’t disappoint her if you tried.”
Anderson played the flute as a freshman at Bay City Central High School. She received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where she performed with the Louisville Orchestra. She was an active member of the National Flute Association – which created an endowment in her honor. She also performed with the Saginaw Bay Symphony for 50 years – their longest-playing member.
The flute choir drew gifted performers from the Great Lakes Bay Region, the Thumb and surrounding communities, and became notable for its classical and contemporary musical performances.
Anne Livingston, director of the flute choir, joined as a member in 1989 and rose from assistant to principal conductor during the 2013-2014 season. She recalled Anderson as a leader who encouraged all to experience the instrument’s beauty.
“Mary wanted to create a performing group in which flutists of all ability levels could come in, feel at home and just enjoy sharing their music,” Livingston said.
Livingston shared her hopes of keeping the music going by nurturing new flutists to
share their gifts with the community while honoring Anderson’s legacy and
Delta College for years to come.
Anderson passed away in 2019 at 86, but the melody she started still carries on.
- “Birds of a Magic Forest,” “Pink Panther” and “Rose Cottage” were notable favorites to perform.
- The flute choir had a record 20 members in 2018.
- Anderson co-founded Flutee, a quartet at SVSU, and also founded Valley Wind Quintet.
- The choir has performed at A Chocolate Affair, the Dow Gardens Christmas Walk, the Delta College Graduate Award receptions and the Boar’s Head Festival at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Saginaw, among many other occasions.