For as long as she can remember Iva Lindsey of rural Wallowa has been interested in music. She began singing public solos in church when she was in junior high school in Vancouver, Wash. In 1972 she began a voice teaching career that continues today.
At age 69 Lindsey remains energized by music.
Though she has taught opera, her forte was not on the opera stage.
She and husband Dale moved to the Bear Creek area near Wallowa in 1992. Dale, a retired high school teacher, had been raised in the Promise area and graduated from Wallowa High School. He had always had the desire to move back to Wallowa County. At one juncture while viewing a beautiful log house, Iva told her husband, somewhat in jest, that if he would build her a log house like that she would be willing to move to Wallowa County. He did and she did.
The move has brought additional music to the county. Iva is the choir director at the Lostine Presbyterian Church, an active choir which features 15 to 20 members from a congregation of 65 persons. The choir has pooled efforts with the Joseph Methodist Church choir under the leadership of Claudia Boswell to present some memorable, jointly aired music. In 1996 the two choirs joined forces to stage the opera "Amahl and the Night Visitor." With Jordan Hostetter playing the lead role of Amahl the opera was presented both in the OK Theatre in Enterprise and at the Elgin Opera House. Since then the two choirs, with the coordinating efforts of Doris Woempler, have joined efforts to musically back up two well attended slides/music presentations about Wallowa County.
Lindsey was also one of the co-founders of a four-year-old Brass Camp held at the Wallowa Lake Methodist Church Camp in June. What began as a brass camp for 20 students coordinated by Larry Johnson of the Oregon Symphony and managed by Jim Howell of La Grande High School, has evolved to a camp of 58 students this summer. Students pay $200 apiece for one week of brass instrument tutoring under the direction primarily of professional musicians from the Oregon Symphony. Lindsey is dean of a camp whose budget was $4,900 the first year and will go up to $30,000 in 2003.
Though not a college graduate at the time, Lindsey began giving professional voice lessons at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham in 1972. Hired because of her obvious singing talent, Lindsey was hired on the premise that she would continue on to receive her bachelors degree which she completed in 1974 from Portland State University. She completed her Masters from PSU in 1984.
Born in Husum, Wash. near Mt. Adams, the family moved to the Washington Coast before settling in Vancouver, Wash. from her fourth grade year through two years in college. He father ran a dairy near Vancouver Lake.
Iva and Dale married in 1952 and moved to Roseburg where Dale taught metal shop at Roseburg High School. They next moved to Gresham where Iva began her vocal teaching career at Mt. Hood Community College and Dale began a 22 year career of teaching electronics at Gresham High School.
The couple have three children.
Since moving to Wallowa County Iva Lindsey has kept busy furthering her career as a voice teacher and as a beginning piano teacher. She now has nearly 30 students, she says, 20 vocal students and nine beginning piano students. Her classrooms range from the Lostine Presbyterian Church and her home in Wallowa County, to the Elgin school and La Grande Christian Church in Union County.
Lindsey says she has had some very talented students from Wallowa County, but has found it difficult to get them to devote themselves to a musical career. One student she named with a "phenomenal voice" from the county was Louis Perry.
"If you get one real successful student out of your career you can feel that you have done quite well," says Lindsey. Her top student is Brenda Baker, a soprano singer with CDs out who teaches at Concordia Lutheran College in Portland.