Chestnut Hill Local: Gast ’97M.Ed. Immortalizes Sister, World Class Flutist, in New Book

March 2, 2012

Chestnut Hill Local (Chestnut Hill, Pa.) reported that Beverly Shaffer Gast ’07M.Ed. recently published Angel in Black: A Musical Life In Letters, 1925-1973 (2011, Trafford Publishing), on Feb. 29. The book features her sister, Elaine Shaffer, one of the most prominent flutists in the world, and her struggles in the sexist climate of the world of orchestras in the 1950s and 1960s, as reported by contributor Lou Mancinelli.

In the late 70s, Gast started The Schoolhouse in Flourtown. She began the nursery school with five students, and within seven years the school had expanded to a size where its enrollment included a waiting list of applicants. She had earned a master’s degree in early childhood education from Arcadia (then Beaver College) University. The model of her school was based on a paper she wrote during her master’s studies, which she says she undertook for therapeutic reasons, about the need for a school where teachers knew they were dealing with students whose mothers were often not home and therefore needed a specific type of care. She later was appointed executive director at the Jenkintown Day Nursery School, where she remained for nine years before retiring.

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