Lillian Yaross, wife of the late Dr. Irving Yaross and mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away March 24, 2018. A native of Chicago, Yaross was a founder of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, recipient of the AOSA Distinguished Service Award and served as president of the organization in 1979-1980.
Her first experiences with Orff Schulwerk took place in the early 1960s when she attended a workshop by Doreen Hall. It was the first class introducing OS to the United States and she was quickly engaged in using the approach in her teaching of 4 to 12 year olds at the Chicago Musical College. She also studied with Keetman, Orff, and Barbara Hasselbach at the University of Toronto along with Jacobeth Postl. They went on to take a third course in 1963, concreting her love for Orff Schulwerk and her commitment to spread it to music educators across the United States. She partnered with Postl in developing their school into a demonstration center for innovative teaching and taught Orff Schulwerk workshops there and in school districts requesting professional development. They traveled across the country and, returning to Chicago, found a group of teachers interested in creating the Greater Chicago Chapter of AOSA. Yaross and Postl instituted the Orff Schulwerk certification program at Depaul University in Chicago in 1966 and taught there for 27 years.
As part of the founding members of AOSA, Yaross participated in the early development of the organization. Her work with teacher educators was her primary influence which then extended in the 1970s with serving on the National Board of Directors, as secretary then as president as well as a national conference chair and on The Orff Echo editorial board.
Yaross received the AOSA Distinguished Award in 1991 and remained active into the 2000s when she retired from service. Her experience, leadership, and spirit will be greatly missed.