City of Burlington | Quality of Life | Burlington Municipal Band
Enhancing the
quality of life
in Burlington and
Southeast Iowa since 1927
In Memoriam:
Jim Mohatt and Beverly Spielman Mohatt
Beverly Spielman Mohatt was born October 31, 1929 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the daughter of Guy and Martha Jepson Spielman. She passed away on December 7, 1996 in York, Pennsylvania.
A graduate of Morningside College, Beverly came to Burlington in the early 1950's as a young string teacher. During her career in the Burlington schools she was the director of the Burlington High School Orchestra and taught at Horace Mann Jr. High school, James Madison Jr. High School, and several elementary schools. An accomplished violinist, Beverly was a long-time member of the Southeast Iowa Symphony and served as its concertmaster. Though primarily a violinist, Beverly also played the flute and played many years in the Burlington Municipal Band.
During her tenure in the Burlington school system, Beverly became an early proponent of the “Suzuki Method” - a learning system associated with string instrument instruction developed by the Japanese master teacher Schinichi Suzuki. Beverly had traveled to Japan and studied with Dr. Suzuki and, with his guidance, began to employ his teaching methods. After leaving her position with the Burlington schools she was instrumental in establishing “Project Star”- a Suzuki-based string instructional project for multiple communities in southeast Iowa.
Following her marriage to Jim Mohatt, who had by this time received his PhD from the University of Iowa, the couple moved to York, Pennsylvania. She became a long-time string instructor in the schools in and around York and was principal second violin of the York Symphony and its music librarian, for many years.
James Leo (Jim) Mohatt was born on August 2, 1933 in Sidney, Nebraska, the son of James P. and Josephine Lacy Mohatt. He passed away on February 20, 2014 in York, Pennsylvania.
Jim received degrees at the University of Nebraska, (Kearney), the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) and the University of Iowa, receiving his PhD in 1971.
In Burlington Jim was the band director at Horace Mann Jr. High School. As a trombonist, Jim played in the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra and the Burlington Municipal Band. Jim was an accomplished pianist and often served the Burlington music community as an accompanist. During the 1960's he was the pianist in a classical “piano trio” ensemble (The Windsor Trio) with Beverly Spielman, violin, and cellist Mark Carpenter.
After leaving Burlington, Jim taught at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan and, following his marriage to Beverley Spielman when he had received his PhD took a position as Associate Professor in the Music Department of York College, in York, Pennsylvania.
During his years in York, Jim was tremendously successful in his professorial role, guiding generations of musicians and music educators. He served the York Symphony as second trombonist (sometimes playing the harpsichord as well), as a member of the orchestra board, and was the orchestra's program annotator.
As individuals and as a couple, Beverly and Jim left an indelible legacy in the musical lives of two communities – Burlington, Iowa and York, Pennsylvania. They will not soon be forgotten!