Written by Diane Baksys
At an early age, Lithuanian-American Paulette George found her true talent in life and turned it into a lifelong vocation and profession. A highly accomplished instrumentalist and instructor of the piano and flute, she has been imparting the gift of music to the Springfield area for more than three decades.
Paulette graduated from Ursuline Academy and then earned an associate’s degree in music from Springfield College (now Benedictine University) and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Illinois Wesleyan University. Her first professional job was as the music director for Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield, where she remained for twenty years. Simultaneously, she began giving private piano and flute lessons, first at Springfield College and later from her home. To this day, Paulette continues to teach. She also is an organist in many Springfield area churches and a flutist at various local events, including First Night Springfield, Christmas at the Dana Thomas house, and the arts fair at the Washington Park botanical gardens.
Paulette is a third-generation Lithuanian-American. Her maternal grandparents, Eva Kellus Romanduski and Picius Karvelis, both emigrated from Lithuania around 1900, initially settling in Indiana and marrying in 1912. Their oldest child, Anne, who is Paulette’s mother, was born in 1913, and a second daughter, Mary (who died in 1918 during the influenza epidemic), was born in 1915.
The family relocated to Springfield in 1916, and Picius became a coal miner. A hard-working man, Picius built the house where the family lived on Wood Avenue in Springfield. It was the same home that Paulette’s mother Anne lived in with her husband, Sicilian-American Jasper George, after they married in 1933.
Picius and Eva both passed away in the early 1930’s, so they never got to know Paulette or her older brother Donald, founder and owner of George Alarm Company in Springfield.
Although neither Eva nor Picius were known to possess any musical ability, they would most likely be proud of their granddaughter’s musical achievements. Paulette has embraced her craft to the fullest, completing master classes in piano and flute in cities throughout the U.S. and in renowned music schools in Salzburg, Austria and Grenoble, France, as well as in Poland. She is also a dedicated mentor to her students and loves fostering in them a passion for music.
Paulette also enjoys traveling abroad and has visited more than 30 countries. She is an avid animal lover, especially of dogs, and is partial, of course, to her own loveable canines.