Musical gala will celebrate Pugh-Magee

Published 11:03 pm Friday, December 4, 2015

A musical gala celebrating the many accomplishments of Juanita Rachel Pugh-Magee will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. The event will be held at the Bethlehem Baptist Church Family Life Center in Bogalusa.

Organizers are requesting that all of her prior students, professional and personal friends, neighbors, and church family join in celebrating “The Keys of Her Life.” Tickets and ads for this semi-formal event can be obtained by contacting Erica Moses at 985-635-1112 and Vera Williams at 985-516-0445.

Magee developed a love for the piano as a young child and continues to manifest her talents by sharing her music with others.

She proved to be a gifted and talented musician as she honed her talent at Southern University in Baton Rouge. In 1952, she received a bachelor of arts degree in music as a member of the Mighty Jaguar Nation. She later received a Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from Southeastern Louisiana University, in 1974.

Her legacy includes teaching approximately 2,500 students piano lessons over approximately 40 years. Fifteen years ago, she received a prestigious State of Louisiana Governor’s Recognition award for community service.

Magee retired from the Bogalusa City School System in 1983, after teaching vocal music in the elementary and junior high school level for 30 years. She received numerous local, state and national awards for her musical prowess. Most recently she received the annual Service Award from the Bogalusa Men of Distinction.

Through the years, Magee spent much of her time in her music studio, annually preparing 45 or more piano students for local, national and international competitions. She has played the piano for the Sunday school and church services for most of her life and has given numerous free lessons to anyone from her home church who wants to learn how to play the piano. Magee doesn’t just play the music — she truly lives the message she sings about and embodies the words of the song,

“If I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain,” she said.

She is currently a member of Metropolitan Baptist Church. For many years she served as youth and senior choir pianist under the leadership of the Rev. M. J. Galloway. In addition to her home church, she has close working relationships with many churches and people of faith throughout Bogalusa, including nursing home communities such as Rest Haven, Good Samaritan, and Heritage Manor of Slidell.

Over the past two years, she has experienced health challenges, which limited her ability to serve others. However, while residing at the Heritage Manor nursing home of Slidell, she became a vocal advocate for patients, a friend to the friendless, a kind voice for those needing encouragement and the pianist for the midday lunch meetings.