Topic: 91 Year Old Female Oboist Talks about playing in Warner Bros Orchestra

This is an excellent article.  She lives in a retirement home in Greenwood, South Carolina.   I wonder what other oboists and bassoonists she might know????

There is a great picture of her!!!

Liliane Covington, 91, invited into her home and talk with her. Instead of an interview…. (Reporter to interviewee), the visit was a delightful, lovely, sweet, inspirational and educational visit. It was, to say the least, a most pleasurable meeting.

Liliane, too, was a pioneer.  She told me of the days when women were not allowed to play in an orchestra pit and how she was one of the first.  “I had to wear trousers, learn to tie a bow tie, and pin my hair up so short that it looked as if I didn't’t have any hair…..but the orchestra did not have an oboist and I was their only hope at the time……which lasted for years!  As a matter of fact, on the set of “Gone with the Wind”, there were 50 musicians…and only 3 were women….one of which was me!!  I signed my first contract when I was 19 years old.”

As a child, Liliane loved music.  She was surrounded by it as her father, too, was a musician for MGM (Metro Golden Mayer).  Her father told her that her love of music would only go as far as becoming a teacher….as she was a girl.  “He did tell me that if I wanted to play professionally, that I would have to practice, practice, practice…”giggled Liliane…   “And that I need not get my hopes up to play in an orchestra…just to prepare to be a teacher.”  So, Liliane did just that.  She practiced 6 hours on the piano everyday and 6 hours on the oboe.  She then went to a private school to study music.  At that school, she actually did Betty Grable's French homework for her "Betty said that French was a waste of time and that she had to spend all of her time learning to dance and I said 'sure....I'll do your French homework for you' and I did.  Betty said that French was a waste of time!" laughed Liliane

Well, Liliane sure proved her father and the whole world wrong!  For 29 years she played in the Warner-Brothers Studio for “too many movies to mention” according to Liliane.  The famous composer Max Steiner always welcomed Liliane and respected her as a musician; as an artist; and as a woman.  Here are some of the movies (among countless others) that Max Steiner composed that Liliane played music for:  “Gone with the Wind”, “Now Voyager”, “The Garden of Allah”, and “Desert Song”.   "I also met Bette Davis and she won an academy award for her role in one of those best actress....ah, I remember it well" sang Liliane. 

“ ‘Walt’  was also very good to all of the musicians” smiled Liliane. 

When I asked Liliane who ‘Walt’ was….she very casually said “Why Walt Disney, of course!” with whom she had also worked many years for.

Thanks to Babs Dunn, (a neighbor of Liliane's at Wesley Commons who coordinates the movies in the Media Room); those movies have been played in honor of Liliane.  “How nice that was of Babs” smiled Liliane “I truly felt honored.”

You may be asking:  so just how in the world did Liliane get to Greenwood? Well, Liliane’s first husband passed away and her son was attending Harvard.  “My son’s roommate was a boy whose last name was Covington.  The roommate’s mother had passed away and his father was a widower.  Well, to make a long story short…..” Liliane giggled, “the two boys thought that they would match me up with the Covington boy’s father:  Philip Covington.  At that time, Philip was the Academic Dean at Wofford College here in SC.  Philip and I wrote to each other and he flew out to California to meet me.  In one of his letters, he told me to send him a swatch of the dress that I would be wearing…..not a photo mind you…..a swatch of my dress!  So, I did, and I wore that dress to the airport to meet him.  He was so handsome and he looked like a professor…as that is what, of course, he was………we were married within a week.  I retired my oboe and I have lived in SC ever since!  We had over 25 wonderful years together before his passing.  And now I live here at Wesley Commons.  I have been here since 1984 and I love it!  SC people are so very friendly!  I love it here in Greenwood!”

As one of the first female orchestra pit musicians, recognizes Liliane Covington as an accomplished musician, a delightful woman, and a lovely person.  Liliane, you have truly made a difference in the world and we thank you for that!  We are proud that you have chosen Greenwood County as your home!


Re: 91 Year Old Female Oboist Talks about playing in Warner Bros Orchestra

Here is another interview that she did several years ago.