Giving Thanks

 

 

ocms-logo

 

I’m thankful for my piano studio, my students, and my piano 🙂 During Covid, I was especially thankful for the Internet!

When I was growing up, my dad was a minister, meaning we lived in whatever parsonage the church chose to let us live in.  The one we had in Pawcatuck, CT had an upright piano that someone had put out in the sunroom.  Not the best place for a piano, but I digress.

Since we had the piano already, someone – probably my mom – decided that I would take lessons.  We had the organist from the Baptist church just across the river in Westerly, RI

Apparently, Clara Pashley was fondly remembered at the church (now Central Baptist Church) since she was mentioned in an article from 2010.

screenshot-2016-11-04-10-04-33
25-centsMiss Pashley walked to our house each week and taught me (and my mom who was always listening in) piano for the grand sum of 25 cents.

I started with Ada Richter’s classic Teaching Little Fingers to Play, which has now been morphed into the John Thompson library.

From there, it was the Michael Aaron series, and some sheet music.

There was no music store in our town, so I have no idea where any of this music came from – but I still have it all.

My parents did very well for their quarter a week investment, especially since my mom paid good attention and was able to beef up lessons she’d had as a child.  Later on, she played well enough that she was church organist for a local Roman Catholic Church.

But I digress…

In those days, kids couldn’t do a whole lot of activities, so in 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be a Girl Scout.  Bye, bye Clara.

Girl Scouts didn’t last long but I did play piano in a talent show.  I remember, I carefully cut Burgmüller’s Ballade out of my Michael Aaron book and made a nice construction paper cover.  (I still have this, too)

balladeburgmuller

I doubt that I played this well but here’s what it was supposed to sound like:

A few years intervened and moved to Springfield, MA.  The parsonage piano there was in terrible shape and in the dark, never-used basement.  But I decided to make it mine and cleared up the area around it and started “practicing”.

My Junior or Senior year of High School I decided I wanted to major in music in college.  I decided to learn, on my own, a piano arrangement of Aragonaise by Jules Massenet.  I have no idea why or where that sheet music came from but I started working furiously on this piece.

aragonnaise

Hopefully, at some point, it should have sounded like this:

I started pedaling (no pun intended!) my music to the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts and ended up at UMass Amherst since we were state residents.

Early morning gym classes (usually swimming), then wet hair traipsing across campus to music theory in winter 5 days a week.  AARRGGH!

But I stuck it out.

My wonderful piano teacher, Howard Lebow, was killed in a car accident during my sophomore year and I was devastated.  There was more about him in a post on January 26, 2022 here on https://oconnormusicstudio.com

I took yet another break from piano lessons – but I kept playing.

After DH graduated, we moved to Milwaukee, WI for his graduate school.  Besides working 2 jobs, I found time to commandeer the practice rooms at the University of Wisconsin.  I also found a teacher at the Schaum School of Music.  She was amazed that I had no piano at home to practice on.

When we later moved to Alexandria, VA my DH gave me a choice of new car or piano. So, I found a used piano.  The owner had acquired it in a divorce and wanted it gone.  Yesterday.  She even paid to move it out of her apartment.

The new-to-me piano took up half our living room.  When my parents came to visit, their feet we under my piano as I slept.

I found yet another new piano teacher and she is still my best friend to this day.

That piano moved to several locations before I bought a brand new Yamaha grand piano.  The movers accidently brought in the wrong one and I made them return it.  The people who lived in an apartment were probably unhappy when they had to return my piano and take their own new baby grand back.

I started teaching as a traveling piano teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I continued that in Wilmington, DE.

When we got to Fairfax, VA I decided no more traveling.  Students would come to me.  And so they have since 1973.

What is supposed to be our living room is filled with music books, electric keyboards, the grand piano, 2 organs, 2 violins, 2 clarinets, recorders, a dulcimer and other musical “stuff”.

Piano playing has gotten me through the worst times of my life.  Teaching has been a lifeline for me, as well.

I am so thankful for the students who have stayed with me over the years and the new ones I have found…on the internet.

Over the River and Through the Woods

over-the-river

 

“The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day”, also known as “Over the River and Through the Wood”, is a Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child originally published in Flowers for Children, Volume 2.

Although many people sing “to grandmother’s house we go,” the original edition shows that the author’s words were “to grandfather’s house.”

This poem celebrates the author’s childhood memories of visiting her Grandfather’s House.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop
For doll or top,
For ‘t is Thanksgiving day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play—
Hear the bells ring
Ting a ling ding,
Hurra for Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood—
No matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get
The sleigh upset,
Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound,
For ‘t is Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate;
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood—
When grandmother sees us come,
She will say, Oh dear,
The children are here,
Bring a pie for every one.

Over the river, and through the wood—
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurra for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurra for the pumpkin pie!

 

November 24 ~ On This Day in Music

 

 

 

.1848 ~ Lilli Lehmann, German soprano

OCMS 1868 ~ Scott Joplin, American ragtime composer and pianist
More information about Joplin

. 1934 ~ Alfred Schnittke, Soviet composer

. 1937 ~ Music from the Raymor Ballroom in Boston, Massachusetts was beamed coast to coast on NBC radio. The special guests during this broadcast were Glenn Miller and his orchestra.

. 1937 ~ Three lovely ladies, known as The Andrews Sisters, recorded Decca record number 1562 this day. It became one of their biggest hits: Bei Mir Bist Du Schön.

. 1950 ~ The musical comedy, Guys and Dolls, from the pen of Frank Loesser, opened at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City. The show ran for 1,200 performances.

. 1958 ~ Jackie Wilson’s Lonely Teardrops was released, as was a disk by Ritchie Valens featuring Donna on one side and La Bamba on the other.

. 1958 ~ Harold Jenkins, who changed his name to Conway Twitty, got his first #1 hit on this day. It’s Only Make Believe was the most popular song in the U.S. for one week.

. 1972 ~ A Friday night show that would compete head-to-head with NBC’s Midnight Special premiered. In Concert featured Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Blood Sweat and Tears, Seals and Crofts and Poco. Robert W. Morgan of KHJ, Los Angeles was the offstage announcer for the ABC-TV show that was staged before a live audience. In Concert was the creation of the guy who dreamed up the fictitious group The Archies and brought fame to The Monkees: rock promoter, Don Kirshner.

. 1973 ~ Following over two years of retirement, Frank Sinatra went back to work again with a TV special on NBC titled, “Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back”. Despite the fact that the show finished third in the ratings (in a three-show race), at least one critic called the program, “The best popular music special of the year.”

. 1976 ~ The Band, appearing at the Winterland in San Francisco, announced that this was to be the group’s last public performance.

. 1985 ~ Big Joe Turner passed away

. 1991 ~ Freddie Mercury, British singer-songwriter (Queen – We are Champions), died at the age of 45

. 1993 ~ Albert Collins, passed away

. 2003 ~ Teddy Wilburn, half of the country music duo the Wilburn Brothers, died. He was 71. Wilburn and his brother, Doyle, had 30 songs on the country charts from 1955 to 1972, including the hits Hurt Her Once for Me, Trouble’s Back in Town and Roll, Muddy River. Doyle Wilburn died of cancer in 1982. Teddy Wilburn was born in the Ozark Mountain community of Hardy, Ark. He and Doyle first performed publicly at ages 6 and 5, with the Wilburn Family band. After recording on Decca records as the Wilburn Brothers, Teddy and Doyle joined the Grand Ole Opry cast. Between 1963 and 1974, the Wilburn Brothers were hosts of one of country music’s first syndicated color TV shows. In 1972 they were nominated for the Country Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year award.