Rosemary Caldwell Collins
April 9, 1969 – December 22, 2020
Rosemary Louise (Caldwell) Collins, 51, of Palm Harbor, Florida, passed away on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, from complications of COVID-19. Rosemary was born on April 9, 1969, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Sidney Lindsey Caldwell and Richard Dale Caldwell.
Wife of Stan Collins for 27 years and mother to Lindsey, 21, and Griffin, 18, Rosemary enjoyed their family life to the fullest. She was incredibly proud of them and did whatever she could to make their lives magical. She leaves a formidable legacy in her children.
Collins graduated from Countryside High School in 1986, then earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. She went on to earn her Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.
Her professional teaching career spanned 19 years in Pinellas County Schools, starting as a general music teacher at Ponce De Leon Elementary School. She then moved to Safety Harbor Middle School to teach chorus and musical theatre. Most recently, she taught chorus at Clearwater High School. A current member of the Florida Vocal Association Executive Board, she was serving an extended term as District 9 Chair, the second occasion she served her district in that role. She was a past president of the Pinellas County Music Educators Association and was twice invited to participate in the Florida Music Education Association Summer Institute. She was a Best and Brightest Award recipient and a National Board-Certified Teacher.
Rosemary also shared her gifts over the years in the religious community as director of music at Heritage United Methodist Church in Clearwater, Fresh Start Community Church in Oldsmar, and most recently, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater. She appeared as a soloist for many years at Calvary Church in Clearwater and quartet leader for the Jewish high holy days at Temple Beth El in Saint Petersburg.
Every family gathering presented another opportunity for music-making and shenanigans. The Collins’ Annual Caroling Party gathered family and friends in sharing a seasonal feast, caroling around the neighborhood, then performing for one another in the living room late-night cabaret.
In her youth, she was selected for All-State choruses every year, including the elite Reading Chorus every year of eligibility. In addition to being in the top choruses at Countryside under Lori Madved, William Renfroe, and Shelli Long, she was in the band under Sam Hayward, playing French horn in symphonic band and mellophone in marching band. She also sang with the jazz ensemble. She played French horn in the Pinellas Youth Symphony and was a student of Carolyn Wahl. Certainly not least, she thrived in the theatre program under Jerry Shaver, performing roles in The Night of January 16th, Adrift in New York, West Side Story, The Music Man, Grease, and in her senior year as Bloody Mary in South Pacific.
While at the University of Southern Mississippi as a student of Patricia Hays, she won the concerto competition with the virtuosic aria “Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville. She brought down the house with her electric performance embellished with Maria Callas’ ornaments. That same year, she had the opportunity to be the rehearsal soloist with the orchestra for Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. Her powerful soprano voice with masterful technique and artistry left no doubt about her future as a respected singer. In the following years, she went on to earn her Master of Music in vocal performance studying with Scharmal Schrock, a summer with Opera in the Ozarks, more opera performances, and competing in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions ending at the Regional Audition, just one stop short of New York City.
Over her education career of 19 years, she directed many musicals, conducted many choirs, coached many singers, mentored many interns and new teachers, taught thousands of people how to be a better musician, and helped all of these people to be better humans. She wanted the opportunity of great music education for everyone. She also worked as a clinician and adjudicator across the state and was the founder and coach of the Pinellas All-County Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
She continued to perform as a soloist and ensemble singer in numerous venues around the Tampa Bay area over the years. One of her most memorable and intimate shows being with her husband in Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Murray Theatre. It was a musical love affair. Rosemary was also active in conducting youth choirs at Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts.
Wearing the robe of an Artist Teacher and the crown of a Servant Leader, she tackled every challenge, crossed every bridge, and climbed every mountain.
Rosemary is survived by her husband John Stanley Collins, of Palm Harbor, daughter Lindsey Kay Collins, son Griffin Andrew Collins, mother Sidney Lindsey Caldwell, of Safety Harbor, sister Ann Caldwell Adair, 53, brother Richard Allen Caldwell, 44, both of Tampa, and many nephews, nieces, cousins, and in-laws. She is preceded in death by her father Dr. Richard Dale Caldwell.
A Celebration of Life service is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 10, 2021. The time and place have yet to be decided.
Memorial donations may be sent to a GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/rosemary-caldwell-collins-memorial-fund) intended to support her family and musical legacy. A number of scholarships are being established in her memory. Please contact Ann Adair at [email redacted] for more information.