School NewsJun 25, 2021

updated Jul 9, 2021

Remembering Angela Kalischer

Prime mover of what we now call “the Miss Hall’s Magic.”

Dance and Drama Teacher Angela Kalischer influenced the lives of hundreds of MHS students during her 37 years at the School — making a deep impact that, for many, lasts to this day.

Angela, the mother of Director of Weekend Activities, Chinese Language and Culture Teacher, and International Student Advisor Tanya Kalischer, passed away peacefully on June 21 at age 85 at her home in Lenox.

Joining Miss Hall’s in 1969, Angela taught creative dance, choreography, and theater until her retirement in 2006, producing countless dramatic and musical productions, always done with color, verve, and spirit.

I found my voice through dance. I am 100% certain that studying dance with Mrs. Kalischer is what gave me the backbone to know myself and to speak my views. Later, when I sat in executive board sessions with 10 men and me, I needed to call on that sense that my view matters and that I can articulate it in a way that engages the people around me.

Remarks on the occasion of receiving the School’s Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient during Alumnae Weekend 2018

In a 2016 conversation with former Director of Advancement and Alumnae Relations Diane Wortis, Angela recounted her start at MHS, explaining that she walked into the School one day and asked Headmaster Donald Oakes if there was a need for a dance instructor.” Mr. Oakes thought about it for a moment and replied, “Well, yes. We do.”

Angela did everything as a one-person department, working seven days a week designing and building sets, creating choreography, doing make-up, making costumes and unique ensemble t-shirts, and designing and printing the programs. She also taught boys to dance during the years they attended the School — then known as The Hall School — from 1976 to 1984.

1979

After her retirement, Angela was a regular presence at reunion and campus events and a frequent guest of class dinners hosted by former students. During Alumnae Weekend 2018, and in celebration of Angela’s 80th birthday, her former students submitted memories and tributes that were compiled into a book.

The Angela Kalischer Theater Prize is named in Angela’s honor and recognizes graduates who have made outstanding contributions to theater productions while at the School. The most recent recipient is School President Hannah Holt ’21.

1987

In addition to her daughter Tanya, Angela is survived by her daughter Cornelia, two grandsons, Aaron and Noah, and son-in-law Christopher Coggins. She was predeceased in 2018 by her husband, noted photographer Clemens Kalischer, who captured student photos and images of Miss Hall’s campus life from 1958 until the mid 1970s.

Since word of Angela’s passing has spread through the MHS community, memories and tributes have poured in via social media. We are sharing some of them here now and will compile others as we receive them. Please send your memories of this remarkable woman to Director of Communications David Smith dsmith@misshalls.org.

At Come Home, Fall 2018

Memories & Tributes

Many of Angela's former students and colleagues shared their reflections on this amazing teacher and mentor.Click here to read more comments.

Stacey Sotirhos ’89, Trustee Emeritus
Mrs. Kalischer was a remarkable teacher and member of the MHS community. It was such a pleasure seeing and continuing to connect with her all these years during our board work. It is quite noteworthy that the family legacy continues through Tanya’s work and connection to the School. Mrs. Kalischer is Miss Hall’s family and will be deeply missed.

Nancy Gustafson Ault ’73, Board President
Angela has been a Miss Hall’s “fixture” for so long. A wonderful, dedicated, woman, she was held in such high esteem by so many. I will miss seeing her at reunions.

Christie Higuera, Dean of Students
Angela and I taught fitness together. She led the warm-up and meditation, while I led the cardio/weights. We had so many laughs along the way. I will always remember Angela’s great sense of humor and laugh. ❤️ She also pushed me to take on a part in one of the plays. She made me feel confident! That’s how she made everyone who worked with her in theater feel.

Alison Quiñones Johnson ’03
What a force Angela always was. When I transferred to MHS I found my home through drama and music, and as my director, choreography teacher, and advisor, Angela completely shaped my time there.

Alison Cowie ’00
Since leaving MHS, I have almost never felt the kind of freedom she fostered in her classes. I don’t think like everyone else and man, did she let me fly! And she was smiling, laughing, and clapping the whole time! 💕

Lollie Low Mathews ’92
She was such an instrumental part of my experience at Miss Hall’s. She instilled a love of acting and fueled my confidence on stage. It was such a fabulous outlet there and something I looked forward to!

Jacqueline Louise Hild ’85
Ms. Kalischer was a huge influence during my time at Miss Hall’s. I spent many hours with her when taking modern dance classes but mostly while practicing for the plays I took part in. She was always encouraging when working with us on a play. She had such a calming spirit and never spoke an unkind word. She always greeted me and everyone with her lovely smile, and I feel blessed to have known her. ❤️

Kristine Schlachter ’04
I am at a loss for words. But, I know I would not be where I am today, shaping so much of my life and career around theatre and the arts and stage management if it weren't for the many hours I spent in rehearsal rooms and the MHS theater with Angela. I will always remember Angela ending every curtain speech with "Laugh, Cry, and Enjoy the show."

Rachel August Horn ’94
Angela taught us to reach into our minds, bodies, or spirits (depending on which facet of school life we were practicing at the time), and grab a handful of “more.” She was one-of-a-kind and will be missed.

1991-92