My post yesterday about being an artist reminded me that I pursued music as a profession before I surrendered to my fate of being a writer. It started when, as a child, I taught myself to read music and to play the pianos at school (we were too poor to own a piano). When time for college arrived, I majored in music and took a BA in it. Later I headed folk groups in my local parish, arranged music for my performers (singers, guitars, woodwinds), and wrote scores combining the forces of folk group, choir, organ, and woodwinds. I still have recordings we made. My judgment these days is that the music I wrote is quite good.
Nowadays, when I have time, I listen to radio broadcasts and my own recordings of classical music (Bach and Mozart are my favorites), and I still play the piano. I own a magnificent Steinway grand, a gift from my eldest daughter, Susan. How it came to pass that she bought it for me is a story I’ve told before in these blog posts, but it’s worth repeating.
Some years ago, because of Susan’s interest in dance, we regularly bought season tickets for ballet performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. We always arrived early so we could have a cocktail in the lounge before the performance. There was always a Steinway grand in the lounge, but it was too early for the lounge pianist to be there. I’ve never been able to resist pianos, so I asked if I could play the ones there. One year, the piano in the lounge was the most beautiful instrument I had ever played. I gloried in being able to make music using it. The next year, it had been replaced by another Steinway that was not nearly as wonderful.
Several years later, my daughter’s husband called me and told me to come to their place right away. I said that I was in jeans and a tee shirt and would have to change. No, he said, come immediately without taking time to change clothes. When I arrived at their place, they told me to get in the car. We were going for a drive. We drove into D.C., and I remarked that we were getting close to the Kennedy Center. We parked in the center’s underground garage and proceeded to the stage door of the Eisenhower Theater. Once inside the theater, I discovered that the stage was filled with grand pianos. Susan told me to try them and see which one I liked best. I was delighted to be able to play all those wonderful instruments.
More next time.