Receiving a tool as a gift can create lifelong memories. Every time I use my socket set I think of Rick who gave it to me as a graduation present. Every time I use a mixing bowl, I think of Mike and Kerri who gave my wife and I a set as a wedding gift.
Ruthanna Jeter is a choral director, arranger, and composer in Monroe, Ohio. In the course of her work life, she was employed as an international travel agent, a professional soprano soloist, and as a choral music teacher to students K-14. Today, at 82, she continues to arrange praise music weekly at her Episcopal Church. For Ruthanna, the best Christmas gift she ever received was music notation software.
A woman of few words, Ruthanna and I spoke briefly about her music and background.
What was your introduction to music?
I began studying the piano at age six and continued these studies through my high school graduation.
How did music become a profession for you?
I played the saxophone in my high school band. I also accompanied choral activities and was our school organist four years. In college, I became a voice major and earned my bachelor of music education degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Afterward, I performed professionally as soprano soloist and also directed several church choirs.
Can you share one of your favorite musical memories?
One of my favorite memories was as a soprano soloist in the Poulenc Gloria, with Michael Korn conducting the Philadelphia Singers and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
When did you first get Finale and under what circumstances?
In 1988 I received Finale as a Christmas gift from my organist husband. I’ve always said that it was the best Christmas gift I ever received.
How did you notate music before Finale?
By hand on staff paper.
What sorts of projects have you used Finale for over the years?
I have written some original compositions, lots of choral and instrumental descants, and many instrumental and choral arrangements. I arrange music weekly for a praise band at an Episcopal Church.
What is your title at your church? What tasks do you take on?
I am a mentor to the praise band director, and I arrange music for the band and often write chords for lead sheets. I am a life-long church music choral director, and now substitute at church as needed.
What do you like about Finale?
It’s easy to change fonts, copy music, and transpose keys. I especially like the online manual when I get stuck.
Can you share a Finale tip?
Use it often, and get to know it well for your own purposes.
What advice would you have for young musicians today?
Study well and intensely. Get to know your craft well. Teach others to perform and love learning new music. At 82 I’ve been blessed to be a musician since age 6. I’ve had great teachers, and in turn, have taught many students, K through grade 14, in church choirs and private voice lesson. It has been – and still is – a great musical life. Thanks for asking!
I’d like to thank Ruthanna for her longtime support of music and musicians – and to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.