Margaret Scott is the red-haired woman who turns the pages for Kyle Ritter’s virtuoso performances on All Soul’s organ. “The hardest thing,” Margaret said, “is that if I mess up, it looks as if the performer made a mistake. I am not tense about it, but I feel a great responsibility.”
Guest organist and parishioner Margie Johnson confirms, “There is more to it than people realize. Margaret is amazing.”
Besides being a skilled and trusted page turner, Margaret sings in the choir, performs violin solos and is a violinist in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. And she has a full-time job as a legal secretary.
Margaret’s family is steeped in academia and music. She was born in Ithaca, N.Y., where her father Edward Scott, taught philosophy at Ithaca College. The professor was a native North Carolinian and returned to the mountains to teach at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa.
Her mother, Lora Scott, taught voice, private piano lessons and Kindermusic at Warren Wilson. She led the alto section of All Souls’ choir for many years. Kindermusic and Lora Scott were synonymous at All Souls.
Brother George Scott is an IT professional by day and plays the keyboard for Lyric (https://www.reverbnation.com/lyricfans) by night.
Margaret sang in the All Souls children’s choir and has scarcely missed a choir performance since the 1970s. As noted, she turns the pages for choirmaster Ritter and, when he needs three hands, she pulls an occasional stop on the organ for him.
Enough about music. There is more to Margaret. Her titian tresses are so long she can sit on them. A lot of trouble? Not a bit, she said. “I never need to get a haircut.” She lives in the Woodfin area. Cooking holds no interest, and food very little. “I eat to live, not live to eat.”
She likes to curl up and read a good mystery novel, a real page-turner. A pet would be nice, but she is allergic. She e-mails her mother, who lives at Highland Farms, and younger brother on a daily basis.
If she won the lottery (unlikely, since she doesn’t gamble), she would buy something for the choir – new robes, an extravagant piece of music … “I am a very practical person,” she said. “I would ask them what they need.”
If she could ask anything of the congregation, she would ask parishioners to make sure to silence cell phones and to join in lustily when the choir moves into the nave on the last hymn. Don’t worry about your voice, she said, ”make a joyful noise.”
If Margaret is playing a violin solo, she often chooses a work from the Telemann Fantasias for solo violin. If she is singing with the congregation on that last hymn, let it be Praise My Soul the King of Heaven.
One last note about music: Page turning has its small dramas. When former choirmaster Bill Stokes was performing the last hymn of his All Souls’ career, the complex Widor Toccata from Symphony V, Margaret noted one of the loose pages toward the end was turned backward. What to do? The duo was unflappable. When Stokes came to the gap, he played on, finishing perfectly. “He knew the piece so well.”
Of course, Margaret knew it too.