Jane Little, Atlanta's Dainty Double-Bass Player For 71 Years, Dies Onstage : Deceptive Cadence The bassist joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 1945, when she was just 16 years old. She died over the weekend while performing.

Jane Little, Atlanta's Dainty Double-Bass Player For 71 Years, Dies Onstage

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Jane Little spent her long life making beautiful music. And she died this weekend doing just what she loved on stage. Little played with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for more than 71 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Jane Little joined the Symphony in 1945 when she was just 16.

JANE LITTLE: My father took me down to the Southeastern Music Company in Atlanta to buy my first bass. And he had no idea what I was going to play. So I said Daddy, there it is in the window. I'm playing this bass. This is what I want. He says I can't believe you're playing that big thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KELLY: Little taught herself to play that bass. And really, she never stopped. In an interview in February, she told member station WABE in Atlanta that she started playing at the Symphony for free. Eventually, they did start paying her $35 every other week.

MONTAGNE: In those days, to make ends meet, Little traveled across the South, performing with other symphony orchestras in Augusta and Savannah, Ga., as well as Chattanooga, Tenn. She also invested in real estate, just in case her career with the Atlanta Symphony didn't last. She need not have bothered. She was a well-loved orchestra member, and the feeling was mutual.

LITTLE: I was so lucky to be able to come into an orchestra in my own hometown. I was married to the principal flute player for 41 years. And he was this big, six-feet-two guy that played a little flute. And he could carry my bass for me.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: Back in February, Little was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records when she marked her 71st anniversary with the Symphony.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LITTLE: It seems like I've been there a hundred years - at least it felt like. It's hard to remember when I didn't play in the Symphony. It's a hard life, but if you work hard enough and love it enough, you'll do it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KELLY: The words of Atlanta Symphony bassist Jane Little. She died on Sunday at age 87.

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