This is a blog about Mary Frances Boyce, which I am keeping on this website so all musicians from the area will be able follow Fran's new lifestyle and keep abreast of local music-related news. If you would like to add anything to this blog, feel free to send them to me (including photos, videos) firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2017 was a time of several life-changing events of friends, which will impact many of our local musicians. Mary Frances Boyce, the doyenne of violin teachers in Chapel Hill and Methodist College in Fayetteville, has retired and moved up to a beautiful retirement community in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There were parties all through the month for Mary Fran - cookouts, potlucks and a very formal dinner with our baroque group from the 70s-90s, I Musici di Cappella della Collina. (Florence Peacock, soprano, Joyce Peck (soprano, deceased), Eleanor Kinnaird and Mary Frances Boyce , violins, Jane Salemson, cello and bass viol, Jane Harris Harpsichord). Over the years additional musicians were added for some concerts - vocalists, recorder, but the 5 remaining in the group get together once a year. This year was extra special.
I was very anxious to see where Fran and Elaine were going to live, so was glad to be able to drive Fran's car with her, up to Philadelphia on September 23. It was a special time to talk about our 44 year-old friendship, the past and the future. Elaine drove her own car and we managed to stay together for most of the trip. We were told to go on 301 after Richmond to avoid so much of I-95, and it was a beautiful run. The scenery of green fields with pristine farmhouses, high bridges gave wonderful vistas (unfortunately I didn't dare look around too much, those bridges are quite scary!) and a real feel of colonial buildings made it an interesting and easy drive. We stayed overnight in Dahlgren, VA at the Marriott, then after a good breakfast, we were off again. We continued the drive to Philadelphia, arriving at Lizzie's (Fran's sister) retirement community, and bundled all the instruments into her tiny apartment. It's about 40 minutes away from Fran's. I stayed there overnight and Fran was to stay there until the 29th when the movers were scheduled to arrive from NC at the new apartment. Elaine went off to stay with her relatives until moving-in day. A very interesting history of Lizzie's community - the original building was the mansion house of the Cassatt family, railroad owners, (painter Mary was a cousin). Built in 1907, in the 50s, it was sold to the YMCA, then to the retirement community who restored to its original style. It has beautiful rooms for socializing, including a large ballroom, and the expansive gardens and lawns give a wonderful sense of space. Residents are encouraged to use the garden plots to grow flowers and vegetables.