By GRETCHEN ACKERMANN
Special to the Times-Herald
One of the most loyal Dearborn Symphony supporters is Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Margaret Van Houten. A Dearborn Heights resident, she has attended Dearborn Symphony concerts for the past 15 years.
Now 44, she began attending concerts with her parents. Her father, the late Dearborn Heights Mayor Lyle Van Houten, was a member of the Dearborn Orchestral Society Board. Having an interest in all forms of music, Margaret Van Houten has enjoyed the pops concerts as well as the classical offerings on the symphony programs.
“I find with my busy dockets as a judge I need relaxation, and the symphony music is soothing to me,” Van Houten said. “I especially enjoy music by composer Vivaldi and the ‘Four Seasons’ movements played at concert performances.”
Van Houten has been exposed to music all her life, experimenting with the piano, accordion and guitar, but has found singing in choirs to be the most rewarding. After singing second alto in the Divine Child High School Choir she has moved up to soprano. She enrolled in a music appreciation course at the University of Michigan as an undergraduate student. Pursuing her interest in music, she sang for two years with the U-M choir and the U-M Art Chorale.
Engaging in the art of drama, she most recently played the part of Judge in the Dearborn Heights Civic Theater production of “Twelve Angry Men.” She also played a judge on stage in a theatrical production at Dearborn High School.
Van Houten is a member of Friends of the Dearborn Symphony and is concerned about the lack of attendance at many of the concerts.
“Yes, I would like to see more seats filled at our concerts,” Van Houten said.
Her suggestions for increasing attendance were, “Plan a musical student outreach. Create special musical programs for college, high school and middle school students. Beyond that, offer free or severely discounted ticket prices for youth and if you haven’t sold all concert seats give them away to students, especially music majors at our colleges. Also encourage them to get their parents involved in our Dearborn Symphony.”