|Mary Etta Senter|
Mary was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but grew up in Seattle, Washington. She began violin lessons at the early age of five after watching a violinist on the family’s new television (the first one in the neighborhood). When a salesperson from the National Institute of Music and Arts, came around to the house, Mary asked to take group violin lessons. From there Mary began private lessons with Walter Sundsten, concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony.
In Mary’s sophomore year at Ballard High School, she was chosen as concertmaster of the All-Northwest Orchestra, which included the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana.Mary was an active player with the Youth Symphony Orchestra for several years. She began studying violin with Professor Emanuel Zetlin at the University of Washington during her sophomore year at Ballard High School. Besides organizing a woman’s sacred choral group, she organized and led a girl’s trio that performed both sacred and secular choral music for weddings, funerals and other functions. Mary led a string quartet that performed on local TV stations and for various functions in the Seattle area.While attending the University of Washington, Mary continued study with Professor Zetlin.
After marrying and having three lovely children (Gordon, Scott and Ruth) Mary’s music studio quickly expanded to approximately thirty students.She taught violin, viola, cello, piano, music theory and voice.
When the family moved to Tucson, Arizona, Mary became a violinist with the Tucson Symphony. Then, for a few years, the family lived in a small mining town in Tyrone, New Mexico. Mary attended and also taught at Western New Mexico University in nearby Silver City, New Mexico. Mary was the music director of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Silver City for several years.
Missing the big city life, Mary again joined the Tucson Symphony and commuted to Tucson from Silver City for one full season. Then the family moved back to Tucson and Mary has been in the Tucson Symphony since that time – too many years to count! Back in Tucson, Mary studied violin performance and violin pedagogy with John Ferrell at the University of Arizona. Mary is a member of the core orchestra of the symphony at this time.
Mary also has a love for chamber music. Her string quartet meets weekly when the symphony schedule allows.