People Around Us

100 years has nothing on this musician

By Beth A. Birmingham | May 13, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham At 100 years old, Louise Koszalka proved she still has what it takes to entertain a crowd during this open house Saturday, May 10. Despite being legally blind, Koszalka plays the viola and other instruments by memory.

Rockland — Louise Koszalka celebrated her 100th birthday a couple days early on May 10 by entertaining well-wishers with some musical numbers on her viola.

More than 50 people were on hand at various points of the afternoon to visit with the musician.

Koszalka was joined by members of her quartet to play a few pieces during the open house held in her honor. The quartet meets at Koszalka's house every Monday to play. Although she is legally blind, she plays by memory, improvisation, and imitation.

Two members of the quartet started as Koszalka's recorder students a few years ago and decided to take up a string instrument.  Koszalka has been teaching them to play chamber music.

She has a long history of music — playing and teaching.  She played in the New Orleans and San Antonio symphony orchestras and in many chamber music groups in the Philadelphia area.

Koszalka taught in the Philadelphia public schools as a string specialist and taught recorder for many years in Philadelphia before moving to Rockland.  Her special musical love has been playing chamber music.

Her daughter Norma and son-in-law Alan Athearn held the open house at their residence on Rankin Street in Rockland.

"We were overwhelmed and honored that so many people came to greet her on her 100th birthday. It was an amazing celebration," said Norma.

Koszalka officially turned 100 years old May 12.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email

Flanked by her daughter Norma and son-in-law Al Athearn, Louise Koszalka takes in some sustenance before performing with her quartet at her own 100th birthday party May 10. She turned 100 years old May 12. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Accompanying Louise Koszalka at her 100th birthday celebration Saturday, May 10 are, from left, first violin by Anne Spencer,  Koszalka playing viola, her daughter Norma Athearn assisting, Len Clarke on second violin, Kay Allan on cello, and Syd Alberg on viola. They played the first movement of Mozart's Quartet No. 3. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Memorabilia of 100 years of life was on display for well-wishers to peruse at an open house Saturday, May 10 in celebration of Louise Koszalka's 100th birthday. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Sealed in chocolate, Lousie Koszalka celebrated 100 years of life a couple days early Saturday, May 10 with an open house and musical interlude. She officially turned 100 years old May 12. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Wayne Keiderling | May 19, 2014 06:30

CONGRATULATIONS  LOUISE!!!!  a very gracious and talented lady and a house filled with love ,music and devotion.

If you wish to comment, please login.