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Thoma, Harry C. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 38, Number IX (June 1937)

Kessenich, Henrietta
Who said women were timid souls?,   pp. 342-343


Page 342


Who1 Said Womeni Were Tmid S"Ils?
                                       Here are two alumnae who have proved
that
       OOW  sad our professors
       must be to see how dis-       women      do   not lack     courage
    and   initiative
 I[J[   mally some of us fail to
 .1     carry on in  our once
        chosen fields. Sylvia Mey-
er, '29, for instance dedicated herself to geology from  solo harpist of
the National Symphony Orchestra of
the day she took Professor Twenhofel's course in       Washington, and she
has occupied this position ever
Geology I in her sophomore year, and Dr. Bascom, of    since. In 1935 she
was featured as soloist at one of
whom   we wrote in the February Alumnus, once       the Symphony's concerts
and the following year at
promised a brilliant career as an authority on the     one of the outdoor
summer concerts on the banks of
Classics. It is Dr. Bascom who turns out to be inter-  the Potomac.
nationally renowned as the foremost woman geolo-      The National Symphony
Orchestra, composed of
gist of the day, and Miss Meyer becomes first harpist  seventy-nine men plus
Sylvia Meyer, has absorbed
of the National Symphony Orchestra.*                most of her time for
the past four seasons, and she
  But Miss Meyer's Science Hall sojourn, it seems,    finds it thrilling
to be a part of a great ensemble, play-
was something in the nature of a temporary escape.     ing great music. During
the winter season the rou-
After studying harp since the age of seven at Holy     tine work of practicing
orchestra parts takes nearly all
Cross Academy, Washington, D. C., she knew          of her time, but when
summer comes she devotes most
definitely that she didn't want to major in music. "I  of the vacation
to the work on her material for solo
don't know why I ever studied geology," she says,      recital programs.
"for I certainly never had any intention of becoming
a geologist. I had always planned to go to the Uni-      THE Symphony tours
(three or four per season,
versity and I had to choose something. The course      about ten days each)
are very strenuous, "but lots of
really has been a help to me. In most of the classes   fun," according
to Miss Meyer. "Of the seventy-nine
I was the only girl, and that situation prepared me a  men, all of whom 
 are very nice to me," she says,
little for being the only woman in an orchestra of     "only twenty
or so are what might be called 'average
men. At the present time, my geology consists of a     Americans.' "
The personnel list reads like an Ellis
corresponding acquaintance with a few scattered geol-  Island line-up, but
we all get along fine together. It's
ogists. One night in Winston-Salem, N. C., I was       a young crowd-I'd
say that most of us are between
surprised to see one of my Geology I classmates at our  twenty and thirty
years of age. On the trips the boys
concert. He was fully as surprised as I."           go in for a lot
of crazy, practical joking, and though
  From the University, Miss Meyer went to the Pea-    it's hard traveling,
there's certainly never a dull mo-
body Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, received      ment with the National
Symphony."
a Teacher's Certificate in Harp in 1933, and the next    Miss Meyer is as
athletic as she is musical and has
year received an Artist Diploma in Harp, the only      always loved the outdoors.
Her summers were spent
Peabody Diploma-which is the                                         on the
Meyer farm   in Douglas
highest honor conferred by the                                       County,
Wisconsin, near Brule,
Conservatory - ever awarded  a                                      and there
she played with her two
harpist. Her most important harp                                    brothers
and their friends, growing
study, however, has been  withe                                     up very
much a tomboy in spite of
Carlos Salzedo in Camden, Maine,            I   "                  
the harp.   She had no formal
"g the summer harp capital of the                                  
schooling until she entered West-
United States," where the world                                    
 emn High School in Washington,
famous harpist and composer  is                                     D. C.,
and then shegraduated in
tutor. She played with the Balti-
more( Symphony   Orchestra gfor                                     infor
athleticsof all typesandshe
three selliams)abons,and in Octoholds                                   
      the girl'shighjump  record
1933 was appointed by Conductor                                     for the
District of Columbia.
Hans Kindler to the post of first                                      At
Wisconsin she was a member
  cm(Shades of Science Hall! Didn't we                              of t
    he as         ams in
spend four years in the geology depart-                             hockey,
basketball and track, pres-
ment worrying over tetminal moraines                                ident
of the Women's Athletic As-
and rock formations! We put our knowl-                              sociation,
and a final emblem wear-
edge to use that first year of martied life,                   "~"
 er.  She was president of Clef
for those wete the days when we classified
our biscuits, pies, and cakes in their ptopet                       Club,
a member of Crucible, Dol-
category of lead, granite, and marble. But                          phin
Club, Castalia, Mortar Board,
now tha-t is all as prehistoric as Lake                             and of
Kappa Delta, Mu Phi Ep-
Agassiz itself. Just ask us, Professors,
(paging Vernon Finch, Ernest Bean and                               silon,
Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta
Frank Williams) about achieving a tri-                               Kappa,
and she was soloist with
umph i'n a devil's food cake or a lemon                             the Concert
Band. At the close of
pie. We guarantee them to disappear ashesniryasewsaaddte
completely as the ancient Laurentian gla-    Sylvia Meyerhesniryasewsaaddte
cier-and with much greater speed.)       The harp finally won out       Edna
Kernigood Glickman prize
                                                342


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