SALT LAKE CITY -- The longest-tenured member of the Utah Symphony is calling it quits.

Violinist Frances Darger is retiring this year after joining the symphony as a 17-year-old college freshman in 1942.

Darger raves about Maurice Abravanel, saying his selection as music director in 1947 transformed the orchestra into a world-renowned ensemble. He won recording contracts and brought in prestigious guest artists.

She says she stayed with the orchestra so long for the simple reason that she loves "all that pretty music." She says "it's just been a wonderful, wonderful ride."

Darger officially retires after this summer's Deer Valley Music Festival.

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