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Through foundation, beloved teacher's musical legacy lives on

A simple motto guided Charlotte Murrin's mission in music: "To teach is to touch a life forever."

Over the course of her 75 years of life, the slight woman with the soft French accent touched countless lives. Whether it came by way of a performance of a violin sonata or by showing a youngster the proper way to hold a bow, she believed music was a gift to be shared.

When she lost her battle with cancer in March, it prompted her husband, Ken, to look for a proper way to memorialize the woman whose tireless efforts forever changed music education in Hernando County.

The recently formed Charlotte Murrin Musical Suzuki Education Foundation will raise money to provide scholarships for music lessons and instruments for area schoolchildren.

"There are a lot of people in the community who wanted to see Charlotte's vision continue," Ken Murrin said. "She felt that children needed music to broaden their lives."

Murrin said that the foundation, which received its nonprofit certification in October, has gotten off to a flying start with initial contributions of more than $5,000. In coming weeks, the foundation's board of directors hopes to finalize plans for a fundraising campaign that will include an annual spring concert, among other events.

Murrin said that annual auditions will be held to determine which students will qualify for the scholarships.

Shortly after moving to Hernando County in 1991 Charlotte (pronounced CHAR-lot) Murrin opened Miss Charlotte's Suzuki Strings, which offered the first structured violin program here.

Using the acclaimed Suzuki ensemble method, her students excelled quickly. Those who reached a level beyond the Suzuki method's scope would be taught individually.

"Charlotte had a special way of relating to young people," said Wayne Raymond, conductor of the Hernando Symphony Orchestra. "She was very patient and understanding, but at the same time always encouraging them to a higher level. I think the proof of that can be seen in the large number of skilled musicians who came out of her program."

Through the years, Charlotte Murrin could count numerous success stories. Several students went on to earn college scholarships, and at one time or another, the majority of the Hernando Symphony string section consisted of her students.

Ken Murrin says that one important goal of the foundation will be to ensure that children from low-income families with the desire to play violin will be provided the means with which to do so.

To help with the effort, he has donated nearly two dozen instruments that belonged to his wife.

Murrin said plans are under way for a memorial concert in the spring that will highlight his wife's musical achievements and, he hopes, bring together many of her former students.

"Charlotte was always so proud of her students," Murrin said. "She treated them like they were her own children."

Logan Neill can be reached at 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

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For more information about the Charlotte Murrin Musical Suzuki Education Foundation, call Ken Murrin at 688-5808.

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