Bane fell in love with music at an early age and began studying piano and clarinet at Drury University’s Conservatory of Music when she was in the fifth grade. She followed her passion for music through high school and from Drury to Missouri State, where she graduated summa cum laude in 1949 with a bachelor’s in education. She later earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri and completed post-graduate work at Cincinnati and Miami universities.
Bane’s 30-year career teaching music in public schools holds many fond memories.
“Once, our band was presented a plaque by President Harry S. Truman for winning first place in the Springfield parade in his honor; I still have the plaque,” Bane said, smiling brightly.
Other memorable career moments include winning the American Symphony Association’s best in the nation award for a program she wrote, titled “Music for Children: Project for Cincinnati Schools,” and watching her children’s choir sing in the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s cantata “Death of the Bishop of Brendisi.”
Inspiring fellow educators is something that comes naturally to Bane. She has given countless speeches to encourage teachers at locations around the United States and in Jamaica. During her teaching career she was highly active in teachers’ associations and served as the youngest-ever president of the Missouri State Teachers Association and president of the National Association of State Education Organizations.
“On a scale of one to 10, I would rate her influence at least a million,” fellow music teacher Rosalie Wyss said of Bane. “Rosemary has a positive, effervescent personality. She is sunshine in a bottle.”
In her retirement, Bane remains active in the music community. Each year she presents 60 to 70 programs to schools, churches and organizations. She also works with such groups as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Southwest Missouri Museum of Art Associates and First and Calvary Presbyterian Church.
In recognition of her numerous achievements and contributions to education and the community, the Missouri Retired Teachers Association named Bane the 2010 Distinguished Retiree of the Year.
“Nothing makes Rosemary happier than being with and helping people — whether playing for an event, helping students with music contests or moderating meetings,” said Helen Harber, president of the Springfield Area Missouri Retired Teachers Association. “She truly lives by our motto: ‘To serve, not to be served.’ ”