Ellen Parrella









WMNR Fine Arts Radio is saddened to note that Ellen Parrella passed away peacefully on February 14, 2016.  Ellen was born in Vienna, Austria, and lived in Newtown, CT since 1960.  She returned to the “City of Music” annually to visit family and friends.    Ellen delighted in hearing the Vienna New Year’s Day concert broadcast “live” on WMNR Fine Arts Radio every January 1st. She has been surrounded by classical music since childhood and in her later years she sang in a local church choir.

During the 1970s she brought symphony orchestras, ballet, opera and live Broadway theater to Newtown under the aegis of the Newtown Arts Festival.  For over twenty-five years she led the Newtown Friends of Music, inviting outstanding musicians to Edmond Town Hall in five chamber music concerts each year.

Ellen took John Babina's WMNR Radio Operations course in the 1980s but she didn’t find the time to devote to broadcasting the music she loves until 2012.  At that time she began hosting Wednesday Morning Classics.  Ellen has been a friend of WMNR since the early 1980s, volunteering for Pledge Week since our days at Masuk High School. Her family requested that her pre-recorded programs continue to be heard at WMNR and we are pleased to oblige.

On February 17, 2016 WMNR broadcast a special memorial program for Ellen. The February 21, 2016 Newtown Friends of Music concert was dedicated to Ellen. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m. at the Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street, Newtown, CT.


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I enjoyed coming to WMNR Wednesday mornings and would always chat with Ellen. She would tell me in a matter of fact way about her illness, but never complain about it. I first met her when she came to the studio while Marta Eggerth was my guest, carrying a big bouquet of flowers for Marta. They were both Viennese, so shortly before Ellen's death I gave her a book about the Vienna woods. I will miss her greatly.

Evening at the Opera host Doug Fox

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I was very saddened to hear of Ellen's death, although I know that it was not unexpected.

I met Ellen about 17 or 18 years ago when she asked me to come to Board meetings of the Newtown Friends of Music. She was ever the gracious hostess and made everyone feel at ease. That spilled over to her broadcast persona. She seemed so at ease and enjoying the music she presented to us. 

Last year, after so many years away from contact with her, she remembered me and in my short visit to WMNR, I lunched with the ever gracious, good natured Ellen. She was, as ever, delightful and friendly and I shall always remember that lunch.

Even in death she did it the right way - how many of us would like to end our lives by going to sleep one night and just not waking up in the morning. We had so much to learn from Ellen.

My condolences to all of WMNR and Ellen's family and devoted listeners.

Love, Bea Asken

WMNR Broadcaster

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