Alums Return for Teacher's Last Orchestra Concert

Retiring Brookfield East High orchestra teacher Anne Marie Peterson has a few surprises as she directs her final concert.

After a quarter-century teaching orchestra at , Anne Marie Peterson is retiring and directed her final concert Wednesday night.

About 95 alumni surprised Peterson — or "Miss P" as her students affectionately call her, including about 15 to 20 who came on stage to join the orchestra for a surprise performance of The Beatles' "Yesterday."

Directing the piece was Paul Brenner, a violin and viola instructor at UW — Platteville who was a student in Peterson's orchestra in the early 1990s. Back then Peterson traveled to teach orchestra at both Brookfield Central, where Brenner graduated in 1994, and at East.

Brenner said the alumni involvement was organized by Emma Richards, a senior who has been in Peterson's orchestra for the past four years and in 4th and 5th grade at Dixon Elementary. Richards, whose three older siblings also played in Peterson's orchestras, contacted alumni through Facebook.

"I'll miss her so much," Richards said after the concert at the . "She's been the most amazing teacher. She's very inspirational."

Peterson taught at Nicolet High School before joining Elmbrook and is retiring next month after 31 years in teaching.

Brenner said Peterson inspired him to pursue a music education career and "is a major name in the strings community." She has served on the associations including the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, he added.

Among those returning to pay tribute to her was Kevin Allen, who has played bass for Streetlife and Greg Koch and the Tone Controls.

Peterson was overcome with emotion as students gave her presents and flowers and performed for her. 

"Obviously, I can't express how touched I am," she said. "I really can't do that because my heart is too full."

The concert ended with its traditional finale of Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye) in which graduating seniors step to the front of the stage.


gracie engstrand May 20, 2011 at 01:04 PM
It was a touching farewell. We will miss her. Gracie H. Engstrand
Dr. Jude Rathburn May 20, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Thank you Ms. P for your inspiration, compassion and heart - I wish you all the best in this next chapter of life! Dr. Jude Rathburn, UW-Milwaukee
Lisa Sink May 20, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Thanks for the comments, everyone. It was a wonderful concert, amazing performances.
Lisa Sink May 20, 2011 at 03:36 PM
By the way, I added some more photos, enjoy!
Kelly Young April 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM
I just came across this! Have a wonderful retirement, Miss P, if you come across this!! You're the best, and keep playing! KPop


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