I was very sad to read in a previous issue of Allegro that music copyist Peggy Serra recently passed away. I had the pleasure of working for Peggy, and her late husband, Hal, in the 1990s. At that time we were all still working with pen and ink on onion skins at the Serras’ apartment on the Upper West Side. They had one of the biggest dining room tables I ever saw, and about eight copyists could fit around it to work.
Peggy would call me when I was starting out in my freelance phase. I was on her list to call after several of her regulars. It seemed that she always called me when it was snowing out or really raining hard, and her regulars couldn’t get in from New Jersey. I also lived on the Upper West Side at that time, and could get to her place quickly. I used to joke with her about the weather when she called, saying “Hi, Peggy, nice to hear from you. It must be snowing out? I’ll be right over.” I always got a laugh out of her. She put up with a lot of characters.
All kidding aside, Peggy was wonderful to work for. She took good care of the copyists in her charge, making sure everybody had what they needed, and got paid what we were supposed to get paid. She made us feel at home in her home, and always had a good sense of humor while getting the job done. I learned a lot from Peggy (and Hal) including how to properly fill out an 802 copying invoice, and was very honored to have worked for her even a little bit when it was snowing.