Judy Matzen – A Friend to All, Loved By All

Judy Matzen and Keith John perform together at the Mast House.
Judy Matzen and Keith John perform together at the Mast House.

If you were new to the music community in Woodstock, one of the first people you would meet in addition to Keith Johnson was Judy Matzen. Her warmth made you feel as though you had always been part of the community. Keith Johnson says this about Judy:

Judy Matzen, the “Mother” of Off Square Music

By Keith Johnson

How can I describe Judy Matzen? I’ll tell you some things about her and let you draw your own conclusions.  

Judy was usually smiling. She was interested in your songs, she asked about your family, she appreciated your performance. 

Judy was often the host at our events, either announcing performers or letting them know when to go onstage or asking what she should tell the audience about them. She loved music of all kinds and always had many ideas about who we should present in concerts.

In addition to her natural ability to create a sense of community, Judy had organizational skills. She was a founding member of Off Square Music and probably the main reason it exists today. She helped write the 501 (C) request, the documents of incorporation, and bylaws.     

I was lucky enough to be Judy’s singing partner. We first met at the Mast House and were both on the Mast House Concert Committee along with John Hoyt and Dave Ashby. We all became friends. When the city complained about the crowds coming to the concerts, Off Square Music was born. I often think of Judy as its mother.  

The Woodstock music community loved Judy, and she returned that love. If you met her, you know what I mean. She was outgoing and supportive of her many friends and family. Will Rogers said: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I never met anyone who didn’t like Judy. We lost her too soon. 

We hope you will take a moment to share your memories of Judy in the comments section of this post. If have a great picture and would like to add it to our Photo Gallery, please email what you have to leslie@offsquaremusic.org.

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  1. John and I were latecomers to the musical community in Woodstock—we moved here in 2011. But from the first moment we met, Judy made us feel like we belonged. She was never anything but kind to us—and to everyone. One of my favorite memories is when she came over to our house and gave me a lesson in how to save some failing perennials: prune away the hopeless bits, trim back the stems, feed, and water every day. Judy was always able and willing to adopt that approach with her friends—trim away the damaged parts and feed and water generously. Along with Keith, she was “the heart and soul” of Woodstock music—and remains so in so many people’s memory.

  2. I lived in Elgin in 2006, when I first came to Woodstock! I was greeted st the door by Judy Matzen with a smile and a hug. She made coming out to Woodstock a required trip for me. She was encouraging and made everyone feel comfortable and LOVED! She was fun to be with!

    I moved out to Woodstock in 2018. I so miss her smile and warm, friendly attitude.

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