Carolyn Marie (Schairer) Moyer, long-time violinist and violin teacher in Lancaster, succumbed to the effects of Alzheimer's disease in the wee hours of Wednesday 3 March 2021 at Legend of Lancaster, where she had been a resident for five months. Born on 5 July 1937, her life spanned 83 years, 8 months, and 27 days.
Born to the late Edward George and Ruth (Downer) Schairer on 5 July 1937 in Bergan NJ., her immediate family moved to Manheim Township during W.W. II, when her father, an electrical engineer, accepted a wartime-production position with Armstrong Cork Co.
A 1955 graduate of Manheim Township High School, Carolyn participated mostly in extra-curricular student musical organizations, particularly the orchestra under conductor Donald Mease. She studied violin with Mrs. Florence Klein of Lancaster and achieved her place in numerous district and state orchestra festivals and in Lancaster Symphony Orchestra as a high schooler.
Lebanon Valley College granted her a scholarship in music education, where she studied violin with Prof. Harold Malsh. She became the first violinist of both the college symphony orchestra and the college string quartet.
She met organ major and viola student Karl Moyer at LVC, and they became husband and wife on 10 June 1961 at former St. Paul's Reformed Church, Lancaster. Her mother's family, the Downers, descended from very early British colonial settlers in Massachusetts, of whom some moved Vermont in the early years of the Green Mountain State. The Downer family long maintained residence on a farm near Stowe VT.
Her father's family descended from early 20th century immigrants from the village of Pfeffingen in the Swabian Alps in the present German state of Baden-Württemberg. They immigrated to Scotia, suburb of Schnectady NY, around the beginning of the last century. Carolyn, Karl, and their daughters visited their Swabian relatives several times in the early years of the present century, to the enormous pleasure of all.
Carolyn took the Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Teachers College of Columbia University, NYC, and studied the Suzuki Method of violin teaching both at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, and in many teacher-education workshops of the Suzuki Association of America, of which she was long a member. After a number of years in music teaching strings and elementary classroom music at the Dallastown Area, Manheim Township, and Penn Manor school districts, she began teaching violin, viola, and beginning cello in the Suzuki method in her own studio at home.
Hundreds of private students benefited by her skilled and dedicated teaching, and several have become professional violinist, including Dara Burkholder Morales, currently the assistant principal second violinist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She retired from private teaching in May 2019. For 32 years, Carolyn delivered Lancaster Meals on Wheels on Tuesdays, 1985 to 2017. In later years she also taught English as a second language 2006 - 2017 at the Lebanon-Lancaster Literacy Council, often becoming an advisor as well to her students on many aspects of life in the USA.
Carolyn and Karl hosted two foreign exchange students from Germany in their home, each for a full academic year at McCaskey: Julia Brüggemann from Bonn in academic year 1985-1986, and Christian Glatting from Oberkochen in the state of Baden-Württemburg during the 2003-2004 academic year. Both became like members of the family and have remained so to this day.
A faithful member of Grace Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Carolyn gave steady, dedicated service in the church choir; also to a women's weekday bible study group at the church; as a member of the board of directors of Grace Place, a day-care ministry at Grace; hostess for many years of a home bible study group, and frequently as a solo violinist and member of chamber orchestras for special services and concerts. For many years she baked the loaves of bread which were blessed at the altar during the liturgy and then distributed to the worshippers in Holy Communion, handing that pleasant duty off to another person in her time of growing infirmity.
Along with her husband, two daughters survive: Dr. Cindy Moyer, professor of violin, viola, music theory, and Music Department chair at Humboldt State U., Arcata CA; and Dr. Susan Moyer Bergeron, a cellist in the Naples, Florida, Philharmonic Orchestra and prominent chamber music cellist in South Florida. Also a son-in-law, Dr. Charles "Chuck" Bergeron, professor of jazz music and jazz string bass at U of Miami, and a grandson Jackson Charles Bergeron, the charm of Carolyn's life.
A memorial service is being planned at Grace Lutheran Church, Lancaster, to take place after the current coronavirus pandemic runs its course, to start with a half-hour of prelude music which includes Dara Burkholder Morales performing a movement of one of the great violin concerti, plus joining Carolyn's daughters, Cindy and Susan Moyer Bergeron in the first movement of Concerto in D minor For Two Violins by Johann Sebastian Bach. Details of the service will be announced later.
At some future point her cremains will be interred, along with her husband's, in the historic Moyer family plot immediately adjoining Salem United Church of Christ, Campbelltown, Lebanon County PA, in the church cemetery.
Memorial donations are encouraged to Grace Lutheran Church, 517 N. Queen St., Lancaster, PA 17603; to Allegro Orchestra, P.O. Box 1741, Lancaster, PA 17608; or to Literacy Council of Lancaster/Lebanon Counties, 407 Lafayette St., Lancaster, PA 17603. To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit:
A living tribute »