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1998-1999 Member of the Year

About Frances Tonnies

Frances Tonnies has been chosen as the Gateway Arch East Music Teachers Association Member of the Year.  Tonnies determined to learn piano when she was given a three-octave toy piano, however, there were no teachers available in the area. 

As a teen, the highlight of her week was tuning the family radio to the Sunday night New York Philharmonic concerts with Ernest Hutchinson. Frances was introduced to many composers, some of her favorites being Beethoven, Schumann and Grieg.  At age 19, she began to take weekly lessons at a St. Louis music school, traveling an hour each way by train. Practicing was squeezed into the late evening of her 12-hour work days. 


Years later, Frances expanded her music skills with several years of theory and music courses from Washington University. She sang with the Civic Chorus for the St. Louis Symphony while there. She has worked as church organist, choir director, and piano teacher. In 1986, Frances received an Apolistic Blessing for her years of music service in the church.  She received a Certificate Emeritus in 1987, recognizing her 25 years of participation in ISMTA.

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