Since they moved to Maui over eight years ago, Kula residents Ron and Peggy Schecter have been the sparkplugs in Maui's artistic engine, as well as stewards of the land. They currently perform with the Maui Pops Orchestra and the Haleakala Chamber Orchestra, in addition to playing at weddings, conventions and other special occasions. Classically trained, Ron and Peggy also teach private classes that allow students to benefit from their extensive experience in the classical, jazz and pop fields.
The Schecters' life on Maui is as "noteworthy" as their journey here.
"I studied piano at age six, but when I was 12, someone handed me a flute and I really took to it," said Peggy.
Ron and Peggy Schecter are the sparkplugs in Maui’s artistic engine, with extensive experience in the classical, pop and jazz fields.
Photo: Paul Schumacher
Demonstrating considerable talent through high school, Peggy was accepted to the Julliard School of Music in New York City, where she studied with Julius Baker, the New York Philharmonic's principal flutist. At Julliard, Peggy received a Fulbright Scholarship that sent her to the Paris Conservatory.
"When I returned to New York, I was fortunate to have friends in the music business that helped my transition from student to professional," she said.
Peggy loved the variety of playing chamber music and orchestral music with ballet and opera companies, such as the New York City Opera, the American Ballet Theater and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Although Ron practiced law in New York and New Jersey, music and poetry infused his life early on, adding an artistic versatility that would underscore all of his work. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, Ron wrote a blues piano background to Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Years later on Maui, he arranged and performed sections of T.S. Eliot's remarkable poem, "Four Quartets," to J.S. Bach's unaccompanied cello suites with the late Maui actress and writer Liz Janes-Brown.
"I took up the cello in college," recalled Ron. "While I was singing in the chorus during a performance of Bach's 'Passion According to St. John,' I heard a famous cello aria accompaniment."
Soon he was studying cello with Robert Gardner, principal cellist of the New York City Opera, and Frederick Zlotkin, principal cellist of the New York City Ballet.
Through one of his cello teachers, Ron the law student met Peggy the flutist, who had just returned from a year at the Paris Conservatory. Peggy was playing flute for the off-Broadway production of "An Evening's Frost," a play about the life of Robert Frost, in the Lucile Lortel Theater in Greenwich Village.
"The music, play and chemistry were perfect, and within the year, we were married," said Ron.
The Schecters' 45 years together have produced great harmony and impressive musical resums.
Peggy was a founder and artistic director of the New Jersey Chamber Music Society. She has performed and recorded with many prestigious American musical organizations. Ron has had 30 years' experience as cellist in the New York City metropolitan area and has performed with the New Jersey State Opera and the New Jersey Chamber Music Society.
"It is great fun for both of us to be members of the Maui Pops Orchestra, a group that adds so much to the musical life on Maui," said Peggy, who is the principal flutist for the orchestra.
"The orchestra has a great spirit," added Ron. "We encourage everyone to attend the concerts to enjoy the many styles of music performed by the orchestra."
(For an upcoming Maui Pops event, see "The Blue Column" on the front page.)
The Schecters' love for Maui, music and the arts flows throughout their daily life. Ron has served for five years on the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, providing legal expertise.
"I believe that government alone is not sufficient to preserve the uniqueness and beauty that is Maui and that organizations such as the Land Trust are essential to Maui's essence," he said.
The Schecters also love gardening.
"Since moving to Kula eight years ago, we have become immersed in improving the landscaping on our property, which has been an incredible journey," they concurred.
"Our garden has become a place of real tranquility, which we enjoy sharing with Maui's art community," said Peggy.
Just recently, they hosted artist George Allan and several plein air painters, who capture the beauty of the landscape directly by painting on-site. And the graduating class of the University of Hawai'i Maui College Master Gardener program received their certifications at a celebration on the Schecters' property.
Ron and Peggy feel privileged to spend part of their life on the Valley Isle. They recognize their responsibility to contribute to Maui's performing arts as well as to preserve the island's beauty for future generations. In Ron's words, "let the magic of Maui, the music, the art and the poetry embrace you in their warm glow."