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Mrs. Martha O’Brien

  • Martha Obrien Profile Image

    Position: Dean of General Education, Instructor of Music and Women's Studies

    Department: Fine Arts, Women's Studies

    Office: Scotus 302

    Email Mrs. Martha O’Brien


    About Mrs. Martha O’Brien


    • A.B.: Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA 1965 Major - Fine Arts Minor - French
    • Non-degree study:
    • Conservatoire National de Musique, Paris, France, 1965-6, Studies in voice
    • La Sorbonne, Paris, France, 1966-7, Courses in Medieval Art
    • M.A.: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 1988: Concentration - Music Theory and Composition
    • Academic Profile
    • Community Involvement
    • Research & Travel
    Academic Profile

    Selected Professional Experience

    • 1977-present: Lecturer in/Instructor of Music, Saint Francis College (now Saint Francis University), Loretto, PA
    • May 1997-Dec. 1999: Dean of General Education, Saint Francis College, Loretto, PA
    • March 2005-July 2005: Interim Associate Dean of General Education (part time), Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA
    • July 2005-present: Dean of General Education, Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA

    Selected Campus Service

    • General Education Committee—several terms
    • Readers' Forum and Summer Book Selection group
    • Music Director:
      • Sesquicentennial Opening Mass -- Fall 1996
      • Baccalaureate Mass -- 1997-1999; 2005-2008
      • Alumni Weekend Mass -- Summer 1997
      • Sesquicentennial Solemn Mass -- Fall 1997
      • Sesquicentennial Closing Mass -- December 1997
      • Mass of Thanksgiving for Fr. Gabriel’s inauguration—Fall 2004
    • First-Year Advisor--1997-2005; 2008
    • Faculty Advisor to the B.R.I.D.GE. Project (the university’s Haiti outreach)
    • Day of Reflection Committee—every year since its inception
    • Academic Restructuring Task Force (2006-07)
    • Academic Strategic Planning Task Force (2007-08)
    • Diversity Strategic Planning Task Force (2007-08)
    • Christian Culture Task Force (2008)
    • New Faculty Orientation presenter (2006-08)
    • Distance Education Task Force (2006-08)
    Community Involvement

    Selected Past

    • Johnstown Symphony Chorale--1970s: Member and soloist
    • Music Reviewer--1980s: Johnstown Tribune-Democrat
    • Director of a play for the local Bi-Centennial Festival--1976
    • Board of Directors; Talus Rock Girl Scout Council: Member--1970-76; 1st VP--1976-82; President--1982-88
    • Girl Scout Camp Director (resident and day camps)--1969-73
    • Trainer - special music session--1982: Nuestra Cabana, International Center of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts,Cuernavaca, Mexico
    • Support Staff (mainly informal interpretation) World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
    • Founder and Director - Holy Name Women's Choir, Holy Name Church, Ebensburg, PA
    • Seasonal Volunteer: DDC
    • Interpreter and teacher for various mission trips to Haiti


    • Board of Directors, Kindred Journey, Inc. (a mission outreach to Hinche, Haiti)
    • Member: Women’s Choir—Holy Name Church
    • Involvement in planning and implementation of “Peace from Pole to Pole” peace walk (2005-2008)
    • Girl Scout leader (2007-present)

    Selected Performances, Publications, and Presentations

    • On-campus concerts -- at least one per semester
    • Joint concert with Mount Aloysius—April 2008
    • Producer of 3 tapes of Haitian religious music composed and performed by the Petits Frères et les Petites Soeurs de l’Incarnation, including liner notes and/or trilingual booklet
    • Presentation: “Sister Emmanuelle Victor’s Haitian Rhythms”—Festival of Women Composers—Indiana University of Pennsylvania—March 2001
    • “A Feminine Voice in Contemporary Haitian Roman Catholic Religious Music: The Songs of Petite Soeur Emmanuelle Victor, P.S.I.”: The Journal of Haitian Studies, Fall 2004.
    Research & Travel

    Research (ongoing)

    • Oral history with Mme. Catherine de Béchillon, a Holocaust survivor. CDs and DVD of interviews.
    • Translation of part of French text based on aforementioned interviews.


    • Canada -- yearly
    • Europe -- June 1986; June 1990; March 1995; February 1996; June 1996; June 1999; March 2000; March 2004; March 2005; March 2006; March 2008 (France, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Spain, Germany)
    • Haiti
      • September 1991 -- as a parish representative on a visit to our “twin” parish
      • November 1995 -- to plan production of tape
      • November 1996 -- to record for tape
      • March and November 1997 -- group leader for “Spiritual Tourism” trips
      • March 1998&9 -- group leader for service-learning/intercultural exchange trips
      • January 2000--interpreter for workshop given by a group of American nuns for a group of Haitian nuns
      • May-July 2000-- immersion experience in Haiti- activities included: Teaching basic weaving skills, recording for tape, beginning the study of Haitian drumming, improving skills in speaking Haitian Creole
      • May-June 2001—immersion experience in Haiti - Activities included: recording for tape, improving skills in speaking Haitian Creole, continuing the study of Haitian drumming
      • May-June 2002—leader of service-learning/intercultural exchange trip with extension of trip for immersion experience - Activities included: Various activities with trip participants, weaving, teaching block printing, interpreting for a medical mission improving skills in speaking Haitian Creole
      • January 2003—interpreter for a medical mission to Les Petites Soeurs, January 2004—interpreter for a medical mission to Les Petites Soeurs
    • Various places in U.S.A.