Virginia Waring Dies at Rancho Mirage Home

Her international piano competition is among the best in the country

JIM POWERS Social Scene 0 Comments

Her piano competitions have given gifted pianists from around the world the opportunity to perform nationally and internationally.

Virginia Waring, 97, whose name adorned an international piano competition in the Coachella Valley since 2001, died Sunday morning (June 2) at her Rancho Mirage home.

Waring, the wife of the late music legend Fred Waring, lent her name to the former Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition and took it to another level. The bi-annual event included junior, intermediate and adult pianists from around the world competing for cash and performance prizes.

Fred and Virginia moved to the Coachella Valley in the 1950s and purchased a winter home in 1960. The couple performed annual fundraising concerts to lead the eventual building of the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.

The theatre celebrated its opening night gala in 1988, four years after Fred Waring passed away, with a performance by Van Cliburn, arranged by Virginia Waring. The theatre sits on Fred Waring Drive and a bust of him sits in the McCallum lobby.

Virginia is survived by three sons, Paul of Rancho Mirage, Bill of Palm Desert and Malcolm (Dixie Wilson) or Shawnee on Delaware, Pa.

She also had two grandchildren, Alexandra Waring of Seattle and Adam Waring of Petaluma.

A celebration of life service is pending.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggested donations to the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition and Coachella Valley Alumnae Panhellenic.

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