Jeannette was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, where she attended many orchestra concerts and ballets with her parents and took piano lessons from the age of 7 through high school on a Steinway upright that stands in her Fort Collins home today. Earning her BA at the University of Cape Town, she then headed to UW-Madison for graduate studies. For a couple of years, she worked as a Wisconsin civil servant on campus, most memorably as the administrator for a group building one of the first five instruments to be launched with the Hubble Space Telescope.
Having met her husband, Dan, at UW, she next spent 16 years in east Tennessee, working with the Bechtel architect/engineering/construction company while he pursued plasma physics research for the Department of Energy’s fusion program at Oak Ridge National Lab. It was there that the Steinway upright joined her again, this time becoming an instrument on which her toddler daughter began experimenting. These early efforts led to several years of lessons for her daughter in Tennessee followed by a decade more in northern California, where the family moved in 1998. There, her daughter filled the house with music—both piano and Irish harp—while Jeannette promised herself that she’d resume lessons at some future date.
That date came when her daughter left for St. Olaf College in Minnesota and Jeannette lost the beautiful background music her daughter had been creating. So, in 2009, Jeannette started up the “re-learning” curve and has been progressing slowly but surely since then, connecting with her present teacher in early 2011.
Throughout the years, Jeannette has remained actively interested in music and the arts, regularly attending recitals at the Steinway Society of the Bay Area while in California that brought several Van Cliburn winners to town and enjoying the enrichment brought to Fort Collins by its symphony, the Lincoln Performing Arts Center and community theaters, the volunteer Wind Symphony, the International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival at CSU, and Off the Hook Arts. These organizations have made Fort Collins a remarkably rich cultural “follow on” to the Bay Area!
Jeannette still telecommutes part-time to a company in Silicon Valley but has time to volunteer at the Larimer Humane Society and Rocky Mountain Raptor Program as well, and looks forward to becoming more immersed in the operations of Off the Hook Arts as a member of the Board.