Cookie: A woman of skill, art and passion

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Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony carried throughout Lamberton Hall, formerly the site of Zoellner Arts Center, as the orchestra performed its final show. 

The violas swam, the cello shrilled, the oboe brightened the room with its vibration.

In Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony, the order of departure toward the end of the performance goes as follows: first oboe and second horn, second oboe and first horn, double bass, cello, violins and violas as the orchestra begins to thin.

The dwindling sound creates an ambiance that exemplifies the act of saying ‘farewell’.

“When the violas’ part was over, they would blow out a candle that they had above their music stand and walk off the stage, even though others continued to play. Until it was just me and Paul Chou, the chamber orchestra teacher,” Rosemary Frey said. 

Frey is known to most as Cookie.

As a longtime member of the Bethlehem community, the city is more than just a spot on a map for her. Bethlehem is where she lives, works and plays. 

Frey has owned and operated Salonstudio212 for two decades, where she cuts, trims, primps and blow-dries her clients’ hair.

She initially purchased the house with her husband as an investment, but after starting a family, they ended up settling down on the South Side.

After she finished high school, Frey was offered the opportunity to become a hairdresser. After some time, she opened her own salon in 1990 on the North Side and operated the salon for 10 years.This is where she operated before moving to the Southside to open salonstudio212.

In addition to managing the salon on the Northside, she was also pursuing a degree in music at Moravian College.Nicoletta Fabiani first met Frey while the two were pursuing their music degrees at Moravian. At the time, Fabiani needed help with understanding her coursework and Frey offered to help. The two quickly became best friends, Fabiani said.

They studied together, cooked for each other and when the time came, Fabiani was Frey’s maid of honor. Frey was even the inspiration for a character in Fabiani’s book.

Music and cosmetics are not the only areas that Frey is skilled in. She also creates mosaic tile installations and renovated her own home.

Frey’s friend Reginna Russo, a substitute teacher in the Lehigh Valley, commends her work ethic and creativity. 

She bought that house on 3rd St and completely gutted and renovated it. I helped her sand the paint off the railings and molding to restore the original wood. That is someone who really appreciates the craft in creating her salon and her music,” Russo said.

Russo has studied music and music theory, but is not instrumentally inclined. However, she admires Frey’s ability to teach and practice music.

“She sees the world through a different lens. Her musical ability, her education, how she educates others. Even the things she complains about, the things she thinks are important, are filtered through an artistic lens,” Russo said.

When she is not working or performing herself, Frey teaches music lessons at the Hawk Music Center and the Lesson Center.

Despite her hectic schedule, Frey said she is fulfilled by a hectic schedule filled with the arts. 

“I’m very lucky to be doing what I love,” Frey said. 

Music has allowed her to travel, meet new people and experience life through a different lens.

“My first instrument was the violin and without that, I would have nothing to (share). I would’ve never played at Lehigh. Maybe not even had gone to college,” Frey said.

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