Urgent Announcement
Shirley Mathews, 1937 – 2017 The Board of Directors and Musicians of Pro Musica Rara  were deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Shirley Ann Mathews on September 30 2017.  She was born January 5, 1937, the daughter of newspaper reporter Roy Forrest and his wife Myrtle. A noted musician and teacher, she performed on the harpsichord and fortepiano in the U.S. and Europe. For seventeen years she was artistic director of Pro Musica Rara, exploring early works and musical performance practice, and for eight summers she led similar programs at Music in the Meetinghouseconcerts in Yarmouth. She leaves a legacy of students, colleagues and friends whose lives she touched and inspired, as well as recordings of Baroque period masters, and an early music program she started while on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory.

Elfin in stature but large in heart, Shirley was deeply intelligent and creative, witty and irreverent. Rooms glowed when she entered. Music was part of her soul; Bach partitas, Mozart songs, and Chopin nocturnes played continuously in her mind’s ear. When she wasn’t practicing or studying musical scores and history, she reveled in cooking, gardening, painting floral garlands on harpsichord soundboards, or helping rebuild the old farmhouse on South Street she and Rod bought in 1978.  Although pearls and a black concert gown were her frequent dress, in one of her favorite photos of herself she wore a hardhat, swinging a crowbar at a deteriorated fiberboard kitchen wall.

Shirley is survived by her husband Rod, her brother Lynn Forrest and his wife Judith, her father-in-law Don Regier, brother-in-law Steve Regier and his wife Kathy, and sisters-in-law Sue (Regier) Page, Ann Regier, and Lynn (Regier) Gunning and her husband Kevin.

A memorial service is planned for a later time.


Donations: Maine Parkinson’s Society respite care program (359 Perry Road, Bangor, ME  04401) or Pro Musica Rara (P.O. Box 16387, Baltimore, MD 21210, or donate here.