Sara Ohly

Born in Washington DC in 1942, my family moved in 1945 to Hartford, CT where I grew up. I studied piano through college but took up recorder when I went to Turkey to teach English for two years in the Peace Corps right after college, which changed the rest of my life. I studied English literature and piano in Edinburgh, Scotland, but came home to be with Nick Ohly and get certified as a high school English teacher at UCONN. We married, moved to New Haven in 1968, and had two sons in 1975 & 1978. I worked as an English teacher, and a teacher of English as a second language, until I went to Yale for an MA in International Relations, studying Refugees and Immigrants, worked for a Refugee agency in Bridgeport, then in 1994 completed a PhD in Anthropology at Yale studying Turkish Labor Migration in the Netherlands. I taught Anthropology at Connecticut College and Wesleyan until I stopped to write in 2000, became involved in community groups and local politics, and volunteered teaching English at IRIS (Integrated Refugee Immigration Services). I’m on three boards: NMS, URI (Urban Resources Initiative), and Sunrise Cafe (Free breakfast for the Homeless). Throughout our years in New Haven, the Neighborhood Music School has been vital to our whole family. Both sons took pre-school classes, and studied guitar, voice, and cello. Before his death in 2007, my husband studied guitar with Alex Vlassenkov. Until the COVID shut down, I spent three days a week at NMS, playing recorder in an ensemble with Grace Feldman and in lessons with Sarah Chelminski, singing and dancing with friends in Vintage Voices inspired by Ingeborg Schimmer and Tracey Albert, and doing yoga with Marian Wittink. Now I play recorder, sing and dance in Vintage Voices, and do Yoga on Zoom.