Jan Impey a Friend of the Community
Reflections from Barb & Dave Halliday
When I first met Barb & Dave they handed me an ad for Pardee joint replacement that features a smiling Jan Impey in hiking garb. They explain that she has become the "Phoenix Woman" and "poster child" for Pardee since after having both hips replaced by Dr. Das she has begun hiking again. In fact, even though she's now approaching 80, she still travels with a hiking group to Snow Bird Lodge each fall. This year marks another transition for Jan as she steps down from directing the Community Chorus after ten years. I took a moment to visit with her dear friends of 45 years the Hallidays to learn more about this amazing member of our community.
How did you meet Jan?
Barb: We first met Jan in 1963 shortly after moving to the suburbs of Chicago when we were visiting a local Presbyterian church. She had been at the church since its inception and was the choir director.
Dave: Someone told her they heard a tenor and alto in the congregation and she made herself known. Thus, it was the beginning of a long and lovely friendship. We have shared many wonderful musical experiences as well as many special times together.
Aside from her love of directing she loves jazz and performs at the drop of a hat. This lady has a zest for life, has boundless energy and a great sense of humor. She's interested in those she meets and places she visits. She is a caring friend, encouraging to all, be it music, bridge, or someone's goal.
Barb: Her education (masters in music education) at University of Illinois in Dundee and various seminars she has participated in for years make her a musical pro! She is mother of two boys and grandmother of one boy and one girl that delight her to no end.
Besides the choir, what other activities was Jan involved with in Chicago?
Barb: She taught music in the Chicago suburbs. I have a sister, six years younger than me, who went into music because Jan was her first music teacher in Junior High. Jan and I also worked as a duo "for hire" in Chicago performing "Between Us Women" at women's clubs and conventions. Jan played piano, introduced all the music and filled in with humor while I basically sat on a stool by the piano and sang.
Dave: She and her family are part of our family. She is a lady, a special talent and a dear friend.
Barb: I have a 50 year old daughter who still calls her "Mrs. Impey." She has a tremendous way of meeting people at their level. We had a college student with us for Thanksgiving and Jan sat down and just started chatting away with her.
I heard you brought her to Tryon.
Dave: We moved here in 1980 and she would visit us a couple weeks every summer. We finally convinced her to retire here.
Barb: So, in 1995 she came to Tryon at our nagging and she has made her mark, having given joy to hundreds of music loving people. She is an example of giving of ones-self and that's what it's all about.
Dave: We suggested she talk with the Rotary/Community Chorus Board.
Barb: She has subbed as with the choirs at the Congregational and Presbyterian churches. She also performed with Patti Peak in several shows such as a role in "My Fair Lady" and carrying the show as Miss Daisy in "Driving Miss Daisy." Pam McNeil and Jan have worked as a pair on several shows. Her musical theatre background was enough to get her pulled onto the board at Tryon Fine Arts Center.
How has Jan changed since moving to Tryon?
Barb: She is very private and doesn't share much except with close friends. However, I can probably say that everything was very tight during the Chicago years. She was very busy working two and sometimes three jobs while raising two teenage boys by herself in Chicago. Here she is loved, has freedom, and is producing.
Dave: She's always loved bridge and plays it all the time.
Barb: We go every year to Spoleto in Charleston for two weeks to see and hear the music, theatre and dance.
Dave: She's gotten involved with many organizations here like the Upstairs Gallery and Foothills Music Club.
Barb: She has played piano and accompanied performances for Foothills Music Club. She often ends up serving on the board for places including the TFAC, the Presbyterian Church music board (basically running the show), and volunteers at the Polk County Library. She's been inducted into the Second Wind Hall of Fame. Her volunteer work with the Rotary, Library, and TFAC made her eligible for that.
Dave: She's an avid reader and always has a book. She basically spends her time and money on friends, travel, and music.
Barb: Travel – particularly in England! Also spends time in Barbados, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Also for those who don't sing often and well any more, we meet at her house to work on parts and focus on classical rather than jazz.
What's it like to have Jan as a friend?
Dave: We've been through some tough times with our daughters and she was there and supported us.
Barb: She gave me a feeling of self-worth and encouraged me musically.
Dave: She's structured but has her own quirks, like everyone.
Barb: She'll drive 750 miles by herself without thinking about it and not even have a cell phone. I lend her mine occasionally.
Dave: She's very independent.
Barb: She would rather give unique, well thought of, whimsical gifts to others than spend money on herself! Jan still hand writes all her letters and doesn't use a computer.
Dave: She loves her University of Illinois teams but won't watch then end of a close game because she "can't take the pressure." She really should be a guide at the Biltmore as she has read everything available.
Barb: She loves all kinds of music, but has "strong" opinions regarding modern day rock and rap "music."
Dave: She is supportive and a classy addition to any group, always a teacher and encouraging. Both of us are singing still because of her support. When she steps on stage or enters a room she has a demeanor that is classy and warm.
Barb: She has so many friends here she's become more of a "hugger."
Some final things to remember?
Generosity! "Ad-a-venture" "Down and dirty Jazz"
Do you know what Jan is up to next?
We're moving to Bermuda Village , and even though it's only two and a half hours away, it's very upsetting for all of us. As for Jan, though other people and places are pulling at her, she may have some more blooming to do right here in Tryon.
Thank you Jan Impey for all the love and music you have given to the Community Chorus. You are an inspiration and a blessing to many! May your next "ad-a-venture" continue to bring you joy.