Remembering Dr. Marion Verhaalen, SSSF (1930-2020)

Marion Verhaalen, SSSF - EdD

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Marion Verhaalen, SSSF-EdD, dear friend and colleague to many, on March 16, 2020.

An accomplished pianist, teacher, composer, scholar, and teacher’s teacher, Sister Marion taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. 

Her publications, ten books and a large and varied repertoire of instrumental and vocal music (some published under the name of Mary Verne), include choral works Animal Verses of Ogdon Nash and Wade In The Water (Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc), the children’s opera, Under the Greenwood Tree, and an oratorio, Judith. Her well respected Camargo Guarnieri, Brazilian Composer: A Study Of His Creative Life and Works, is published by Indiana U. Press. 

Sister Marion's piano compositions for students were always structured for the student's developmental level, and, at the same time, seamlessly flowing with expression and interest.

Pieces she published through Lee Roberts Music include: City Set, Concertino, Duets for Piano Set 3, Duets on Four Brazilian Songs, Songs from Brazil (Duets), Duets on Songs from the USA, Folk Songs from Here and There, Modes in Miniature, Solo Adventures Sets 1-4.

Sister Marion was a Visiting Fulbright Professor (Federal University in Porto Alegre) and, through a grant from the Organization of American States (Texas Archival Resources Online:, lived in Brazil for nearly a year. Her researching Brazilian music led to her doctoral dissertation on the solo piano works of Camargo Guarnieri and Francisco Mignone. She earned her doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Verhaalen served as a teaching consultant for Comprehensive Musicianship Teaching from the mid-sixties, onward. In Brazil, she introduced a Portuguese version of Robert Pace’s Piano Teaching Approach. 

Samples of Marion Verhaalen’s writing, music, and teaching may be found here:

Sister Marion, compassionate, fun-loving, accomplished, and one-of-a-kind, touched many lives through her many gifts.

- Cynthia Pace -