This Story in History | From the July 10, 1944, Eagle: Mary E. Jones given leave to play overseas for USO

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Selected by Jeannie Maschino




Miss Mary Elizabeth Jones, violinist and director of the Pittsfield Community Music School, has been given a leave of absence by the directors to allow her to join a USO overseas concert unit. She will leave for New York tomorrow where she will meet other members of a harp, violin and cello trio, and soon after will sail or fly to one of the war theatres.

The request that Miss Jones join the unit came Friday. She went to New York that day, was immediately engaged and ordered to report back the first of this week. The trio is something new in USO programs, but it has a special purpose.

Miss Jones will play close to the lines in forward hospitals. The therapeutic effect of fine music on recently wounded men is believed to be more beneficial than thumping jazz. She will also give concerts for non-wounded men. The location of her assignment has not been divulged, but she believes it may be in the Pacific Islands. She will return Jan. 1.

Miss Jones came to the Pittsfield Community Music School in 1941 when it was established. She has seen it grow from some 50 students to more than 175, and its home changed from the leased Peace Party House to the former Mayor Allen Bagg home on Wendell Avenue.

Miss Jones is a native of Seattle, Wash., a graduate of the Cornish School in that city, of the University of Chicago and the graduate School of the Eastman School of Music where she composed works which were played by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra. She has been a member of the Chicago Women's Symphony, has played her own works with the Eastman Orchestra, and has concertized extensively.

While she is overseas, a school director of national prominence will take her place. Her violin pupils will be apportioned among members of the school staff until her return.


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