Longtime member of the Naples Music Club and of the Glissandos performance group, Jaye Fitts, well into her 90s, passed away on January 14, 2014. Funeral services will be held for her in Georgia.
Jaye was an inspiration to all of us. She frequently performed in our member recitals with the most recent appearance being only a little over a year ago. She always played very musically with excellent intonation. We will miss her passion and dedication. The following paragraphs were written about Jaye two years ago just before she played her violin in one of the Club’s Members’ Recitals.
When she was 4-years old, Jaye heard a woman playing the violin at a music festival in her home town of Vincennes, Indiana. She promptly told her mother she wanted to play the “biolin.” And when Jaye’s mother saw her little girl out in the yard putting two sticks together to mimic the body and bow of a violin, it was obvious that this child was smitten with the instrument. However, lessons had to wait until Jaye was 6 and could read. No Suzuki instruction in those days.
The family moved to Miami and young Jaye started lessons at the Miami Conservatory and created a musical future for herself that would find her playing in youth and symphony orchestras around the US. Green Bay and Madison, Wisconsin, the Cobb Symphony of Atlanta were just some of the orchestras she played in in her career. One influential teacher along the way was Mischa Elman. The key to playing he said was to “never mind about the music, but play it as you feel it.” Of course, when it comes to classical music, the score is most important and should be followed, Jaye admits. But she also has the ability to play “by ear.” Give her a recognizable tune and she can play along in any key. Just recently, she was contacted by a friend who quickly put together a trio of saxophone, jazz piano, and Jaye on violin for an impromptu concert at the Carlisle where Jaye lives. No rehearsal, no matter. What a thrill for this woman who married, raised three children, yet continues to unfold musically. Little did she know that this magic spell would approach 100 years.