Delphine Marcus, one of WMNR's most well-known and beloved broadcasters, died on Wednesday, May 18, 2005, after a long illness.
Remembering Delphine Marcus
Some of us knew her as a friend, some of us knew her as the soft, English-accented voice that came over the air waves on Wednesday and Friday evenings; but all of us felt her zest for life and her joy in bringing the music to her listeners. She was indeed a beautiful, vibrant, warm, funny, candid, and courageous woman, who fought long and hard against the awful disease that finally took her, and her spirit never wavered.
"We now have 14 minutes before 8 o'clock, and I do have tickets to give away." Delphine Marcus was a broadcaster at WMNR for more than 20 years. Her programs were heard every week, beginning with the inception of the classical format on Fine Arts Radio, and over the years she became very dear to her many admirers. So intimate and so personal were her style and presentation that many people felt a deep kinship with her, and her mailbox was always stuffed with fan letters.
With a highly diverse background that included having been raised among the gentry in England, and educated in France, Germany, and the Middle East, Delphine brought to her programming a unique variety of musical styles. But her adventurous and exotic life experiences add up to what many people only dream of doing.
At a very young age, Delphine Costelloe Scott-Young began dancing lessons that eventually led to an engagement with a ballet company in her native England. Acting was also an early pursuit which resulted in some minor roles in movies, and an exciting trip to Rome to act as stand-in for Elizabeth Taylor in the barge scene in Cleopatra.
Then it was on to study at the Sorbonne and at Heidelberg University, and eventually to Iran where she received a degree in Islamic art. While she was in the Middle East, there was an opportunity to spend a brief time living and traveling with the band of nomadic Arab tribespeople called Bedou. But this was only the beginning! Amid many other unusual and exciting adventures, Delphine took a glamorous job as an emissary for a large Western oil company in Libya. When the company offered her a sabbatical to America, she ended up settling here and marrying cartoonist Jerry Marcus, with whom she had two children. There are now three grandchildren who were indeed the center of her world.
Among the musical memories that Delphine Marcus shared with us, there are many worth sharing again:
"My first real musical memory was when I was about 5 years old--it was Christmas Day in England--a grey, sullen winter's day with a weak sun struggling unsuccessfully to shine. I was gazing out the window at the leafless trees and listening to my grandfather's recording of Beethoven's 7th Symphony (we always listened to music after dinner). Wagner called this symphony the 'Apotheosis of the dance.' I loved its joyfulness and as a child I would dance to it."
"It was my grandmother who introduced me to the movies. She was an ardent fan and would take me with her on different occasions. Her favorites were Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh, and Clark Gable. I remember seeing Jeannette Macdonald and Nelson Eddy in Maytime with her and loving the music. My grandfather always said that if the film made my grandmother cry, then he was certain she had enjoyed it! It was my mother who took me to see Dangerous Moonlight, and I remember that day in London every time I hear Richard Addinsell's "Warsaw Concerto" (which was part of the score for the film), because when we came out of the cinema the air raid siren wailed its warning and we had to seek shelter from the bombs."
"I have the great luxury of being able to share my musical loves with you, the listener here at WMNR. What pleasure it brings me when you tell me how much you enjoyed a certain piece of music that you have just heard. I think we all can remember some event when music has played an important role in our lives. What would life be without music, and, of course, WMNR!"
Well-known and deeply admired by her listeners, Delphine presented programs that were always spontaneous, done without script or notes, and peppered with many of the recordings from her personal collection. Because she was such a world traveler, her fascination with music of all cultures permeated her programs and made them exciting and interesting. Many people looked forward to the mystery voice quiz and other special features that made her broadcasts so much more than just concerts.
Delphine Marcus will be greatly missed by those of us who knew her and those who knew only her voice, and although that voice is silent now, it won't be forgotten.