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Rockwall MusicFest co-founder to be honored

(ROCKWALL, TX – March 2, 2017) The Daughters of the American Revolution Rock Wall Chapter has nominated Ruth Peck, co-founder of Rockwall MusicFest, for the National Society DAR Community Service Award, in recognition of her outstanding volunteerism and helping establish Rockwall as a cultural center for music and the arts. Ruth will be presented the award on March 17 at the 118th Texas DAR State Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

“For the state regent to select Ruth to be honored at our state convention is pretty special,” said DAR Rock Wall Chapter member Carolyn Duckworth. “They don’t do that very often, maybe once a year.”

Ruth served as president of MusicFest and The Greater Rockwall Philharmonic Orchestra (GRPO) for 14 years before recently announcing her retirement. She donated countless hours of voluntary time in the formation and organization of MusicFest, helping the group bring concerts to the Harbor Amphitheatre, local churches and the Performing Arts Center at Utley. Productions included an entertainment series with notables such as ‘The One O’Clock Lab Band’ – the premier performing ensemble of UNT. MusicFest also brought inspiring performances in memory of 9/11 and to honor veterans, first responders, local dignitaries and Rockwall Founder’s Day. While some of the productions were fund-raising, most were free to the public.

“I felt there was so much talent with the youth here, and I wanted to work with the schools to pull out these special individuals and give them a venue to perform,” Ruth said. “That’s how The Greater Philharmonic Orchestra was formed. We’ve had wonderful youth soloists. Well known players from The Dallas Symphony, Plano and all over this area have participated in the orchestra.”

Ruth was born in New Jersey and said she knew she wanted to be in musical comedy since she was 10 years old. At age 13 she began studying with the leading coaches in voice and drama at the time in New York. Throughout her lengthy career in professional theatre and music, she has worked with many of the leading movie and stage actors of the 20th century on Broadway and in regional theatre throughout the country. Ruth has also assisted many of the great directors and playwrights of the time including Peter Glenville, Jose Ferrar, Marc Connelly and Clifford Odets.

After she married and moved to Houston, Ruth continued to remain active in theatre as well as the Alexander Love Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Ruth came to Rockwall in the mid ‘70s and sought a means to advance music and the arts in the community through the formation of Rockwall MusicFest, which she co-founded in July 2002.

MusicFest is now the production arm of the GRPO presenting the finest in classical and contemporary music in North Texas. The GRPO is made up of approximately 60 musicians, a mix of talented students, local lawyers, bankers and homemakers playing alongside professional musicians. Each year, one of the students receives a scholarship and is the solo performer at the May concert.

For more information about Rockwall MusicFest and the GRPO visit rockwallmusicfest.com/.

To learn more about the DAR Rock Wall Chapter visit texasdar.org/chapters/RockWall/index.html.

Story and photo by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. 

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