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Los Alamos Arts Council Develops Rosalie Heller Annual Memorial Lectures

on October 5, 2017 - 8:14am
Rosalie Heller was a pillar of the arts community and the Los Alamos Arts Council is honoring her with its Rosalie Heller Annual Memorial Lectures. The first lecture is slated to be in September 2018. Photo by Joanne Rijnes

Los Alamos Arts Council Executive Director Patrick Neher, left, and Leon Heller are working on the upcoming lecture series. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/​


Los Alamos Daily Post 

Rosalie Heller died in December 2016 but Los Alamos still feels her influence and Heller’s impact on the community continues. In fact, her husband, Leon, is collaborating with the Los Alamos Arts Council to present the Rosalie Heller Annual Memorial Lecture. The lecture series is scheduled to begin in September 2018.

To prepare for the series, Los Alamos Arts Council Executive Director Patrick Neher said a committee from the Los Alamos Arts Council board will be formed to review recommendations for speakers.

He added that speakers will be chosen based on their careers and ability to lecture.

“We’re going to aim for the top,” Neher said.

The actual program is still being developed. Leon said he was thinking it might be good to fashion the Rosalie Heller Annual Memorial Lectures after the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture Series. Having a dinner or a reception for the speaker the evening before the lecture is being considered. The lecture itself will be held in Fuller Lodge and admission will be free.

While lectures will focus on classical music, Neher said there are a wide range of genres and subjects to cover. Speakers will be professional, celebrated musicians who have experience in public presentation. 

“It’s going to involve eclectic music,” Neher said. He added that with eclectic music, comes a diverse group of speakers. “There are just so many interesting people out there.”

The lecture series not only pays homage to the arts but also to Rosalie, who was a great contributor to the arts in Los Alamos.

“Rosalie was involved in so many musical activities in Los Alamos,” Leon said. He pointed out Rosalie, along with small group of musicians which included Kay Newnam, Patty Broxton, Laurel Rodgers and Bob Wingert, put on well over 100 concerts throughout the years called the Coffeehouse Concerts. “This town just fell in love with this series.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg of Rosalie’s achievements; she was a founding board member of the Los Alamos Arts Council, she served on the board of the Los Alamos Concert Association and worked as the association’s Artistic Director. She also hosted a series of lectures about classical music at Fuller Lodge. As a piano instructor, Rosalie taught  more than 300 students during a period of time that exceeded 50 years. In fact, one of her students was Neher. She also hosted a series of more than 200 radio programs on KRSN devoted to different topics in classical music.

“I think Rosalie was always trying to get people interested in classical music. The lectures were part of her ways of doing that,” Leon said.

It is appropriate to hold the memorial lecture series in Fuller Lodge; it’s where Rosalie spent so much of her time.

“Fuller Lodge was her second home,” Leon said.

To help get the memorial lecture series off the ground, Leon made a generous donation to the program.

“It’s perfect, we’re very lucky to have that start up capital to do it right the first time,” Neher said.

The lecture series also provides the Los Alamos Arts Council with golden opportunity to spread awareness about itself.

"As part of celebrating our 50 years of service to the community, the lecture series will help LAAC re-brand or reacknowledge the role the Arts Council has in the community,” Neher said. “It also helps LAAC to re-b[r]and or reacknowledge the role the arts council has in the community.”

To gear up for the first lecture next year, Neher said he plans to schedule a number of “teaser” events six months prior to the lecture. These events will be lecture-recitals or other preformances that will help promote the upcoming speaker and their talk. The event will either be a recital, a performance or a lecture-something that will help promote the upcoming speaker and their talk.

For more information about the Los Alamos Arts Council, a nonprofit arts organization, visit