Pacelli graduates to recognize ex music teacher

Published 9:39 am Friday, August 21, 2015

By the class of 1980

For the Herald

We’re no band. But we’re getting back together anyway. The students that sang under direction of Jan Muzik in the Pacelli High School class of 1980 are joining together again in song with the St. Augustine’s Church Choir at mass on at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday in honor of the long time Austin music educator. Mrs. Muzik taught at Pacelli from 1973 to 2000, then came back in 2013.

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Rarely does one get to go back and relive something from your high school years. Even better than that is doing it with the same teacher who had such a positive influence on your life.

Stuck between the pages of the spring issue of Pacelli’s magazine The Shamrock is a tribute to Mrs. Muzik, between ones to the deceased long time teacher, coach, mentor and friend Pete Schmidt and the retired Jim Parlin. Unlike those two, she isn’t dead nor has she retired. She has never “retired.” She still gives piano lessons just like she did growing up in northern Minnesota. Did Mick Jagger come out of retirement for The Rolling Stones’ tour this summer? No. Some people have a gift and are blessed with the drive to do it their entire lives. Like Mick, Mrs. Muzik will be waiting for the next tour to start.

Student memories

Jan Muzik

Jan Muzik

Sally Wolcott: What can I say about a true legend? One that her married last name actually matches her talent.

Full of charisma, talent and charm, Mrs. Jan Muzik is literally one in a million.

I was one of the lucky ones to learn from and work with Mrs. Muzik on a daily basis while at Pacelli High School. It was thrilling watching her work her magic on the electric piano. What a talent. She corralled us all into some musical endeavors we could have never taken without her. Spiritual music, pop and lots of standards from the ‘40s-’70s. We did them all! We even made our own album with acoustics Jan, as I can now call her, loved inside of St. Edwards’s church.

One of my favorites was our Pacelli Theme Song that I believe she helped to create that started out with memorable “Do Do Do Do Do. Do do do do do do. We’ve got a good thing going Pacelli High. We’ve got a good thing going.”

Many a choir concert in the PHS gym as well as touring around town at our annual Christmas program out at the Hormel House, Austin Country Club concerts and other local venues.

Jan was and is also the consummate professional and I can honestly say I have never seen her lose her cool.

Hats off to you Jan. May you stay young, hip, relevant, spot on and Muzical forever! Thanks for the memories.

Jen (Ripley) Nuhfer: Her gift was in pulling from us our gifts. She treated us not as children, but as the young adults we were trying to become. She wrested from us sound, strength, and soul and, to this day, my sweetest memories of that time are the sounds of beautiful music.

Pat Sheehy: Mrs. Muzik convinced me that not only could I sing without reservation in a room full of my peers, but I could also do so with them in front of an audience, and even by myself. She made a non-athlete who endured many taunts for a lack of physical talents feel proud of a gift I had never appreciated before — my voice.

Susan (Kemmerick) Horner: I have always admired her and thought it was just the neatest that her name (Muzik) matched her career: What are the chances?

Joan Bodensteiner-McLeod (PHS, ‘74): Mrs. Muzik’s influence spanned more than our class, however. She exuded joy while she conducted our choir of misfits and took us to the next level. While choir practice was historically boring, Mrs. Muzik’s class was energizing. We wanted to be there. She expected and brought out the best in us.

Tom Plunkett (PHS, ‘83): She could take a group with a couple stars and a bunch of lesser talents ­— I was one of the lesser ones — and do these big productions. She was one of the best parts of going to PHS.

Anthony Servellon (PHS, 2015): Mrs. Muzik brought a sports coach mentality to choir, by having each practice be fruitful, and would help us to reach our best by performance day.