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Member Spotlight: Olive Partridge Still Wows Audiences at Age 97

Olive Partridge came from a music loving family, and discovered her own love of music at age four, singing a song at a family reunion about a baby brother she didn’t have – but the joy from performing kept her singing for weeks.

By age seven, she had taken up the violin and progressed rapidly, by age 11 taking lessons at Fillmore High School and winning music contests.

But it was the arrival of a German immigrant who used her family’s parlor for his studio in exchange for music lessons that greatly helped her ability to play. Soon, she was traveling around the state giving recitals to delighted audiences. In addition to the violin, Partridge learned how to play piano from her mother and played an organ with foot pedals. But this dedication to music did not get in the way of her studies; she graduated as class valedictorian from Millard High School in addition to taking state honors with her classmates for their music performances.

She went on to win a music competition at Branch Agricultural College, winning a one year scholarship. She contemplated attending Brigham Young University as well, but married a childhood sweetheart and raised a family, never leaving her love of music behind. In addition to playing instruments, her experiences with choral conducting led to membership in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, where she sang for 18 years, performing around the world.

Partridge’s music career continues to this day, now as a “fiddler” instead of violinist. As a “snowbird” in Arizona with her husband, she met a fellow musician who wanted her to teach him how to read music – she agreed on the condition that he teach her to play the fiddle. She’s now a member of Utah Old Time Fiddlers and Country Music Association, performing several times a month.

Partridge says she loves seeing the faces of “older people” light up when she performs, especially at care centers around the state. Though she says performing is scary because she may disappoint the audience, it hasn’t happened yet.

On the occasion of her 97th birthday, one of her daughters wrote:

"You have touched so many hearts
So freely, you have done your part
To share your talent and your smile
You lighten moods and for a while
The world is sweeter, kinder too
The way it should be, thanks to you"

Of her life, Partridge says, “Maybe it wasn’t planned out, but I had a good time!”

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