Remembering Magdalen Christian
Magdalen R. Christian, the Program Coordinator for the Music Department from 2009 until October of this year, passed away on October 28th. Born in Boston and raised in Canton, she pursued her studies at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, at Catholic University in Washington, DC, and graduated with a degree in vocal performance from the Boston Conservatory. Her talent in singing also extended to the theatre; she belonged to the Green Mountain Guild and other theatrical organizations. Magdalen was an avid traveler, and one of the greatest experiences of her life was teaching English as a second language in Colombia, South America. Her subsequent work in the Legal Department at MIT prepared her well for the intensity of her job at Wellesley, where her work lay at the very heart of the Music Department.
Magdalen excelled in her role at the College, single-handedly fulfilling both the needs of Music’s complex academic program and the large and multi-faceted performance program. She not only managed Jewett’s Music wing (practice rooms, instrument storage, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, and the Sound Lab), but made connections with other academic departments, internal contractors (such as Motor Pool, Maintenance, the Print Shop, the Lock Shop, LTS, etc.), and external contractors (such as maintaining and tuning the department’s 30-some pianos, as well as overseeing string and wind instruments, and the College’s organs). On top of all of this, she was the department’s webmistress and easily navigated all kinds of College software.
Part of what made Magdalen so perfect for her job here was her ability to focus on the task at hand and make you feel as if you were the only person who mattered—she gave her full attention to everyone while juggling countless balls in the air and constant interruptions. Her ready laugh and easy smile made the work fun and enjoyable. Magdalen touched the lives of countless people at Wellesley, and she is sorely missed. The Music Department is planning to hold a memorial concert for Magdalen in the Spring semester, which will feature a great deal of vocal music in her honor, and we are in the process of commemorating her with the Magdalen R. Christian Organ Scholarship Fund.