Saturday, August 9, 2008

Living with Music

As long as I can remember, there was music around our house. In my early years, we had no tv, and we often sang and played in the evenings. And there was the music at church. Daddy sang in the choir and would take me to sit with him when I was quite little. He taught me to play piano by ear before I ever started formal lessons. Harmonizing came easy to me and I sang alto in the choir as soon as I was old enough.

Mother and Daddy had played in a Lutheran church orchestra before they married, and often they would play together some of those songs. My favorite was "Bye Bye Blackbird." The photo above, taken before I was born, shows Mother holding another instrument but I never heard her play anything but piano and organ. I have the little mandolin on the ground next to Mother, but I only learned to play one song on it.
During the 1930s Daddy played in this orchestra. He is one of the saxophone players shown in this picture that appeared in a local newspaper. He was self taught and could sight transpose to any key.

All of my grandmothers four brothers played music. Two of them are featured here. The picture above shows them in their latter years; Lonie is on the left and Lando on the right. In the second photo, they are shown as they appeared sometime in the early 1900s with Lando on the left and Lonie on the right. I loved to hear them play the old fiddle and banjo tunes and I believe this is what triggered my love of "the high lonesome sound."

I have been fortunate to have many musician friends in my lifetime. One of my most enduring friends is Barbara. We met sometime around 1975 and immediately became friends. She is a soprano and I am an alto, and we began singing and playing together. This photo shows us at the old Birchmere when it was in Arlington VA, performing at "open mike." After all these years, we still get together whenever we can, to talk and reminisce and, of course, sing. She now plays the appalachian dulcimer and I mostly play the autoharp. Sharing music and friendship with her has been one of the great riches of my life.

1 comment:

Virginia said...

If more people will sing, it will be a happier world. So keep music alive in your life. Many Blessings, Virginia