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Jodi Ellis &
Jodi Ellis & Marcia Muth
"Marcia and Jody have shown me that it's never too late to do what you love," said one of many letters supporting this remarkable pair. Nor was there any shortage of examples to underline the point.
"At a chamber music concert, a violin solo moved me so deeply that I decided to take up a string instrument," one nominator wrote. "So I got a list of cello teachers and called Jody Ellis. 'I am 48 and have never played before,' I explained--'at which she laughed and said, "'I started when I was 59! Come on over, and don't worry!'''"
In the year 2000, when Marcia Muth was 81, she began painting full time. Now her work appears in museums and galleries from New York to Albuquerque to St. Louis to Cape Cod to Beaumont, Texas. She also is a much-published poet, a noted librarian, and, with Ellis, co-founder of a literary journal and publishing house.
Never in their half-century in Santa Fe has either slowed down. Formerly a nurse and a candy-shop owner, Jody in 1969 teamed with Marcia to start Ellis Research Associates, which assisted aspiring writers. Within two years the quarterly literary magazine Sunstone Review followed, and then grew into the Sunstone Press. The founders sold the enterprise in 1977, and kept moving on.
In 1979 Jody co-founded the Santa Fe Community Orchestra, in which she has continued to play. An accomplished writer, Marcia maintained a steady output of poetry and book reviews. Jody began teaching the cello as well as playing it. Marcia became a painter.
Beginning in the mid-1970s Jody delved deeply into the religious and spiritual aspects of life, and served as both president and director of Temple Beth Shalom. For several years Marcia taught classes on Santa Fe culture and history in the Elderhostel program. What is the secret for these two? "Never grow up!" Marcia says.
"Including both women in one nomination is very appropriate," said one letter, "because they have worked together to enrich this city's literary, artistic, cultural and historical foundation. The two represent the best of Santa Fe in their love for the city and its inhabitants, who have become their family."