Musically Gifted Technite Girls, 1916-1919
Josephine Holub (1919), Joyce (Holloway) Barthelson (1918), Margaret (Avery) Rowell (1919), and Wilhelmina Wolthius (1918) all began musical careers at Tech where Holub, Holloway, and Avery formed a chamber music ensemble called “The Arion Trio.” In the 20s and 30s, they performed live on Pacific Coast radio networks. All three and their friend and classmate Wilhelmina Wolthius (who later changed her name to Antonia Brico) went on to illustrious careers in music.
Josephine Holub played violin with the Arion Trio until 1932. Her name appears frequently in local press in the twenties and thirties in connection with concerts in the East Bay.
Joyce (Holloway) Barthelson became a noted arranger, pianist, conductor, and piano teacher. She was a staff pianist for several local radio stations, taught piano, and co-founded in 1944 the Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, NY. The school still exists under the same name. Barthelson wrote operas, piano pieces, concertos, and songs.
Margaret (Avery) Rowell was described in her obituary in the New York Times in 1995 as one of the country’s best-known teachers of the cello. She taught cello at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 14 years and was on the faculties of the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, Mills College and San Francisco State University. She developed a unique technique for playing the cello using one’s “whole body” which has come to be known as the Rowell Method and is used around the world.
Wilhelmina Wolthius (aka Antonia Brico) became one of the first female symphonic conductors. She was the first woman to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic and the first to conduct the New York Philharmonic. Her obituary in The New York Times in 1989 quotes her as saying, ”I do not call myself a woman conductor… I call myself a conductor who happens to be a woman.” She founded the Women’s Symphony Orchestra in New York City and conducted the Denver Businessmen’s Symphony until 1985. Both were renamed in her honor. Judy Collins (a 1960s folksinger) directed a film in 1974 honoring her former teacher’s life entitled Antonia: Portrait of a Conductor.
Technites in World War I
In Feb. of 1921, in an elaborately choreographed ceremony which included speeches, song, and a honor guard of Tech cadets, the bronze plaque which hangs in Tech’s front lobby to this day honoring the eleven Tech students who perished in the war, was unveiled when the curtains in front of it were pulled back by two 3-year-old children of two of the fallen soldiers. It was the first such ceremony in California. The plaque, weighing 650 pounds, was designed by Tech’s art teacher, Goddard Gale and cast by Tech alum Louis de Rome. Students raised the $600 needed for the bronze. The names of the Tech boys who served in the “Great World War” and “made the supreme sacrifice” are: