Ida Joan Hagood Brown Schwarz

1949 -

Joan Schwarz, an organist and pianist, has served as a church musician since she was in the eighth grade. She and her first husband, Steve Brown, were active supporters of community and church music activities throughout their marriage.

Joan was born in La Grande, Oregon, and spent her childhood in Grants Pass, Oregon. She was one of two children of Charles A. and Mary U. Sutton Hagood. From her earliest years, she wanted to play the piano and organ, and as soon as she could reach the keyboard and work the pedals on the family pump organ, attempted to make music.

She took piano lessons for a short while in grade school from Yvonne Olson Tooley, but that ended when her teacher left the school. This was a disappointment, but she continued on her own with mixed results, wanting to be able to play hymns for her classroom. She recently wrote about that effort and how she became a church organist:

I taught myself many bad habits, but I did learn to play hymns for our classroom in school. Happily for me, during my sixth or seventh grade my teacher moved back and taught me accordion. In my eighth grade year my parents bought me an electric organ, and I took organ lessons from Mrs. Tooley, the only music teacher I would ever have. From then on I have played for services and other functions of the church.

Joan attended Milo Academy in southern Oregon, where she participated in music activities and met Stephen Brown, a popular and active singer at the school. They married in 1969, a year after they graduated from MA.

They moved to College Place, Washington, where they purchased Standard Printing, a business in nearby Walla Walla, in the 1980s. The Browns supported the local symphony and the music department at Walla Walla College, now University, through contributions and favorable estimates for their printing needs. Additionally, beginning in 1995 they underwrote a music scholarship at WWC that continued until the time of his death in 2003.

The Browns had two daughters, both of whom were active in grade school bands. One daughter, Diane, continued to play clarinet in academy and college ensembles and the Walla Walla Symphony.

Joan has been active as a church musician throughout her life. In 2003-2004, she and a friend, Pat Hight, recorded a CD of piano and organ duet music.

Joan married August Schwarz in 2005. They now live in Hamilton, Montana.



Source: Information provided by Ida Joan Hagood Brown Schwarz; Personal Knowledge.