When it comes to performing symphony music in Nebraska, Bettelee Lewis is the poster child for longevity.
Lewis, who turns 90 on Saturday, has been putting bow to strings as a cellist and string bass player for Hastings Symphony Orchestra for 75 years. Also a member of the Kearney Symphony Orchestra since 1941, the Kearney resident is a member of the Nebraska Music Educator's Hall of Fame, having taught music to public school students in south-central Nebraska for nearly half a decade.
The orchestra acknowledged her lengthy run at its annual Christmas concert Sunday at the Masonic Center auditorium. In spite of her lengthy commute and advancing years, Lewis continues to mentor and influence fellow orchestra members, something orchestra conductor Byron Jensen regards as nothing less than remarkable.
"What a great story," he said. "We are celebrating our 88th year and she's been playing with us for all but 13 of those years! She's just an amazing person.