Features 2000

Marjorie Burgess

... Silver Stringer receives Melrose Centennial recognition

Natalie Thomson

There is always some "happening" to enjoy and ponder at the weekly meetings of the "Resident Staff" of the Melrose Mirror. The staff of SilverStringers, so called because of the term given to newspaper reporters, are overjoyed that one of their staff has been recognized on page 128 in "Women in Melrose - Past and Present." (See reprint at end of this article.)   

This distinction was conferred on our Marjorie Burgess by the Editorial Staff of the City's Centennial publication because of her great talent in the artistic field of music. Marge has shared her popular tapes with her co-volunteers, and has also revealed her talent in writing on subjects as varied as personal experiences and thoughts, to informational subjects which affect all of us.

Her suggestions at our meetings for topics about which to write are moving and insightful. Her fearless comments on human prejudice are significant. Her creative urges are always alive. Her demeanor is friendly, helpful and obliging.

She includes others in her distinguished endeavors. One of her co-creators wrote a poem which Marge put to music. She encouraged a Silver Sstringer artist to design the cover for the "sheet" and invited the male soloist in the group to record it. Even as I write this, she is setting up that final process with M.I.T. The Melrose Mirror will have a new hit song as part of its media expression... thanks to Marjorie Burgess and her creative talents.

To view Marjorie's contributions to the Melrose Mirror:
Click "Who We Are" on first page - upper left
Click picture of Marjorie Burgess to read her bio and see a list of her contributions.


An accomplished pianist and composer of music, Marjorie Louise Solomon Burgess is the proverbial "late bloomer." After her two children were grown, she attended college while in her forties. Today, at age 76, she is celebrating the recent release of a disc recording "The Music of Marjorie Burgess," containing over forty compositions from among 200 pieces she has written.

Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Marjorie moved to West Emerson Street in Melrose in 1952, following her marriage to a noted wood carver and former key grip, Earl Burgess. She studied piano at the New England Conservatory of Music as a girl, leaving when her father died during the Depression. In the 1960s, she returned to classes at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. In addition to work as a composer and teacher of piano, Marjorie conducted the choir and played the organ at the Unitarian Universalist Church. She also taught adult education classes at area schools.

One of the first pieces Marjorie composed was "Music A La Mode," in which she adopted "modal scales," an ancient form of music used by the ancient Greeks. It was published in 1977 by G. Schimer of New York. Another piece composed for children,"Animal Gourmets," was published for advanced piano students. Marjorie has written many music instruction books for beginner and intermediate piano students. Her work has been nationally recognized; many are in the Melrose Public Library.

Her most recent release is,"Christmas Anthem: A Child is Born" which has been performed by the Polymnia  Choral Society and many church choirs in the area. It features jazz pieces, as well as "Waltz for Donna," a tribute to her daughter, a noted potter. With this legacy of music, Margie Burgess is truly one of Melrose's living treasures.

Feb. 05, 2000

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