Episode 4: Vita’s Musical Journey
Vita was born in Lewiston, Maine. She started piano lessons at 7 years of age. She was the only 10-year-old girl at the piano, in an all-boys brass band, who played at the Capital of Maine in Augusta. In her senior year of high school, she had two singing leading roles in two operettas: “Chonita” and “Down in the Valley.” Vita received a full scholarship to attend the leading music school in Montreal, Canada: Vincent d’Indy. She competed and was chosen to play at the International Festival of Music in Ottawa, where she won a scholarship and two trophies. Among many competitors, Vita was chosen, as guest soloist, to play with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Wilfred Pelletier, at the age of 20, playing Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D Major. She also sang “Vissi D’arte” from “La Tosca,” with the Montreal String Orchestra. Vincent d’Indy school awarded Vita her two trophies for sight reading in piano and voice. She was part of the teaching staff at the “Mainente” school of music in Maine.
Vita had a series of weekly television piano and voice programs on the local PBS Channel called “the French Hour,” where she chose to play “Claire de Lune,” by Debussy, for the starting and ending of the hour.
In Connecticut, she formed an all-girl chorale as well as the Vita Fortin Chorale, made up of 24 women and men, and gave concerts benefiting different charities. She taught piano and voice for 48 years, in Montreal, Maine, Connecticut and Florida.
In Florida, Vita was the Spruce Creek High School (Port Orange) piano accompanist for the Voice Choir for 4 years. She continued to play for different Port Orange churches and was a member of the Chancel Choir at Westminster-by-the-Sea Presbyterian Church for several years.
Vita continues to accompany local violinists and vocalists for different presentations.