Thursday, January 24, 2013
A peek into the past...
This photo is of my mom singing a solo with me on the piano, accompanying. It dates back to 1975, and we are in the grade school lunchroom, although I'm not sure of the occasion. It obviously took place when we had warm weather, based on how we're dressed. Perhaps it was entertainment for a function or a special tribute to someone.
Mom was often asked to sing for special occasions, and I loved it when I could accompany her. She had a beautifully rich contralto voice, and mostly focused on art songs or inspirational/religious solos, as she was soloist in church for many years.
I loved the story she told that when I was a baby, she would sing me lullabies, but I must not have liked it, because I would commence crying immediately. Wouldn't you know, it hurt her feelings. So, when I was a toddler, she started taking voice lessons from an accomplished vocalist (who had spent much of his career on the east coast), and she worked very diligently. For a few years, she also took piano lessons (from the postmaster's wife). She must have surrounded herself in music, focusing on improving her skills. She soon started singing publicly and continued with voice lessons for several years. I well remember waiting for her, listening on the couch, soaking it all in.
At the age of 5, I decided I wanted to learn to play the piano too. Mom knew just enough to get me started, and began teaching me the basics. Whenever I was ready for a new song or skill, Mom just made time to work with me. She was like that. I may have had several "lessons" in one week, based on my progress. Now I understand how very lucky I was to have that kind of attention! When I began playing beyond her skills, she made sure I had other teachers. Some I liked; some I didn't! It caused some tearful trips home from lessons, but Mom would not let me even consider quitting.
Looking back, I'm so glad I could eventually accompany her solos on the piano and organ. Those were extra special times together. I can only imagine what it must have felt like as a Mom who nurtured her daughter's talent. She set a great example. I'm quite sure that's why I find such joy in helping young musicians discover and enjoy their talents.