Sister Marian was one of Julie’s mentors in the Robert Pace Approach. The two met while they were both teaching piano at Alverno College on Milwaukee’s south side. Sister Marian is an expert in Brazilian music (she has also published music under the name Mary Verne) and has written many repertoire pieces for the Pace series including a collection of Brazilian Duets, the popular Level One suite City Set as well as Solo Adventures Sets one, two, and three and four. Sets three and four were just released in Spring 2011. S. Marian Verhaalen is the author of the book Camargo Guarnieri, Brazilian Composer: A Study of His Creative Life and Works published by Indiana University Press. She is a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis and is currently editing a history of the order and teaching at Cardinal Stritch College.
The MTNA conference also gave Julie the opportunity to spend some time with good friend and former Alverno Moppets colleague Sue Rusch. Sue is the Co-Director of Partners in Music in Hales Corners, just outside Milwaukee.
Because of the proximity to Chicago the MTNA conference was well attended by a number of piano teachers from the Chicago Area Music Teachers Association of which Julie is a former President.