Ellen Parrella, 28-year President of Newtown Friends of Music

1937 – 2016

Ellen Parrella died peacefully at home on Valentine's Day 2016. She was surrounded by her children and the beautiful sounds of her favorite symphony – Beethoven’s Seventh. Ellen did not believe in life after death, but rather that we live on in the memories of our loved ones, the knowledge and inspiration that we pass along, and the examples that we set in life in order to make the world a more beautiful place. She spoke her mind passionately and forcefully, whether praising beauty and competence, or providing constructive criticism, knowing that unless she spoke up, an opportunity to recognize or improve things would be missed. She was a life-long passionate patron of the Arts, Literacy and Refugee Resettlement. She was a tireless force for good in this world, and a huge personality. We will miss her greatly.

Ellen shown above in 2011, doing publicity and contracts for Newtown Friends of Music. She was fiercely devoted to her NFM subscribers and strove daily to bring exquisite music ~ superbly performed to Newtown.

Ellen pictured here in 1970, seated before the very first seasonal poster (which she designed) for the Newtown Arts Festival, of which she was a founding Board Member, initial Secretary and eventually President. The first season featured American opera singer Marilyn Horne; Spanish guitar dynasty The Romeros; and infamous ragtime pianist Max Morath, all appearing at the then-new 1200-seat auditorium of the Newtown High School. Ms. Horne performed pieces from Rossini's La Donna del Lago with the New Jersey Symphony. The New York Times magazine in Ellen's hands here shows Ms. Horne on the cover at the Metropolitan Opera that very season. Ellen was very proud of this series, which ran for ten years.