Renee Anderson, left, was honored by Pequot Lakes mayor Nancy Adams with the proclamation "Renee Anderson Day" on June 7.
Renee Anderson of Pequot Lakes, who has been playing piano in the lakes area for more than 30 years, was honored by the Pequot Lakes Woman's Club on Thursday, June 7.
Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Pequot Lakes Community Education and Pequot Lakes mayor Nancy Adams came together Thursday to name June 7 "Renee Anderson Day," celebrating Renee's musicianship as well as her involvement with the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts association (GLAPA) and her work as a member of the woman's club over the past two years.
Renee, who moved to Pequot Lakes in 1970 and has been spreading her love of music throughout the area ever since, was surprised to hear she had received the honor.
"I'm in total shock," Renee said. "Music really has enabled me to do a lot of interesting things."
Renee got her start on the piano in 1956, at age 8, while her father, who was an Air Force chaplain, was stationed in England.
"That's why (my husband, David) jokes that I 'studied abroad,'" Renee said with a laugh.
Renee began her life in Pequot Lakes as the elementary school's music teacher, while at the same time offering private piano lessons to students throughout the area. In recent years, she has continued her involvement with area youth by accompanying members of the Pequot Lakes High School Band and Choir for solo and ensemble competitions across the state.
"Practically everything I've done, I've done since I moved here," Renee said. "It's fun because you see (the students) really blossom as they learn. It's fun to see them improve every year and really enjoy what they're doing."
Renee claims that teaching piano has always been her passion, and that spreading music in the lakes area has been an enjoyable way to spend life.
"I've always loved piano, and that's why I like teaching piano, because I want (the students) to love it as much as I do," she said.
Renee said one of her favorite parts about her work in the area over the years has been her involvement with GLAPA, where she has performed in every musical since the organization's inception in 1983.
Though Renee now dutifully plays in the stage's pit during musical performances, during her first musical in Pequot Lakes she got a small taste of the limelight, performing on stage for GLAPA's first two musicals, the revue "Bits of Broadway" and "Li'l Abner."
"The first musicals, I was actually on stage; ever since then, I think I'd rather be in the pit," Renee said with a laugh.
Though Renee has remained in the GLAPA organization since it began, she has ventured into other local theater groups over the years, including Brainerd's Rhythm of the Rails group and the Geritol Frolics, a group of musicians age 55 and older, with whom Renee played in Las Vegas in 1983.
"I've truly loved every minute of it," Renee said about her theater work. "I like working with the community theater because you get to know so many talented people."
Even today, Renee can be found helping other people with music, whether that means entertaining residents at the Good Samaritan Society in Pine River, playing the organ at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes or preparing young musicians at Pequot Lakes High School for their All-State Band auditions.
"Music has opened up a lot of avenues for me," Renee said.
Though Renee has only been a part of the Pequot Lakes Woman's Club for two years, she had been helping with various club functions for years, including playing for the club's Christmas program.
"There's so many wonderful events that Pequot has had, and I sincerely count it (as) a privilege," Renee said.
Even after being honored with an official declaration of "Renee Anderson Day," Renee remained modest.
"There are so many people that should be honored over me. I am truly humbled," she said.
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