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Strings, Symphonies, and Lessons on Life
Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on September 29th, 2015

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Strings, Symphonies, and Lessons on Life

Stories and Spotlights

Resident_Spotlight_Miriam_GiannoneMeet Miriam Giannone, a violinist and music teacher who spent over 20 years teaching in public schools and playing in local symphonies. From her childhood living on the Pacific Coast, to her travels to the Great Wall of China, Miriam admits that the best part of aging is looking back at the wonderful memories and experiences she has had throughout her life. And though she may have “slowed down a bit,” her life remains as full as ever!

Since April of 2015, Miriam has lived as a resident at our Lifestyle Transitions neighborhood in our Wesley Heights community. She has also lived at our Crosby Commons community for some time. As a resident in our award-winning assisted living communities, Miriam loves the many opportunities she has to connect with others, especially when it involves a great intellectual conversation. She enjoys social events, especially celebrating birthdays with her friends at Wesley Heights.

Miriam was born in Bellingham, Washington on August 2, 1931. She has two sisters, Esther and Ruth. Her father was an army chaplain and during her childhood, her family also lived in California and Minnesota. When she was ten years old, she remembers finding a heart shaped rock on the Pacific Coast. To this day, she still has that rock, and it became part of her extensive rock collection.

In third grade, she learned to play the violin and fell in love with music, which greatly influenced her life. She graduated from Patrick Henry High School as co-salutatorian in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She then went on to further her education at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in music and education. She received her Master’s Degree at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. When she was in college, her friends called her Mim Zim. (Her maiden name was Zimmerman.)


Miriam became a music teacher in the public schools, teaching primarily strings. She taught in the Weston, Newtown, Fairfield, West Haven, Branford and Bridgeport (Connecticut) public schools, but not all at once! She also taught privately, and played violin in the Bridgeport and Norwalk Symphonies for over 20 years, as well as many string quartets. If she could meet anyone in the world, it would be Joshua Bell, a world famous violinist. However, she has met Itzhak Perlman, another world famous violinist. “He has had polio since he was four years old and could not walk, so his violin was carried for him,” she recalls. Some of the best advice she has ever received comes from her violin training. “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again…. The Japanese Suzuki method [of teaching music] demonstrates this,” Miriam shares.

Miriam, one of the best parts about aging is looking back at the wonderful memories and experiences she has had during her life. These memories and experiences include her family, her hobbies, and her travels, just to name a few! She has been married twice and is now a widow but is also a mother to three sons, Rick, Dave, and Bob, and a daughter, Carla. Her eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren are her pride and joy. (In fact, her grandson, Josh, has requested to inherit her rock collection one day!)

Throughout her travels, Miriam visited Japan and China. A highlight for her was seeing the Great Wall! In addition to traveling, “now that she has slowed down a bit,” she enjoys reading and visits from her loved ones. Her favorite food is chocolate and salted peanuts and her favorite color is blue. Sharing her motto in life, Miriam invites us all to “Cherish yesterday, live today, plan for tomorrow, and seek the life beyond.”

Miriam was interviewed by Wesley Village and Lifestyle Transitions volunteer, Janet Girardat. For more information about Lifestyle Transitions Memory Care at Wesley Village, contact us at 203.225.5024.

About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.