At some point in many children’s lives, they are introduced to a musical instrument. For my sister and me it was the piano. For my brother, it was the trumpet. I remember that we had a very eccentric older lady come to give us piano lessons. Her name was Miss Sisson. She always wore some type of hat and always had a pencil with her, which she sometimes put in her ears. She was not very well kept but this didn’t hinder my love for music. As little girls my sister and I loved musicals and we tap danced our way through many recitals for which our mother made all of our costumes.
We were so excited to be a part of old Highland Park elementary school’s tap dancing review! I’m the one at the very end of the front row with my little polka-dotted Thumbelina costume on. I loved the sound of Staccato taps. I still even have one of my tap shoes. I think my favorite instrument has always been the drums. I love the beat of the drums and the taps reminded me of the beat of a song.
As I grew older into my teens and beyond the years of Elvis, Chuck Berry and the Beatles, I fell in love with rock n’ roll and the twang of the electric guitar.
I yearned to be able to play one, as my closest friends at the time were both guitarists. I never managed to play well as my long nails would always interfere with my chords and my strumming, but I had the smallest and cutest guitar around.
For many years at the high school where I taught, the entire school got ready for the greatest and most popular event of the year. It was called Rocco’s Rock ‘N Roll Revue, the brainchild of a history teacher who was himself a legend in the area of the beginnings of rock ‘n roll and together with hand-selected musicians from the student body and a few faculty (I was one of the chosen few) Rocco and the Celestials (his backup group) made history for 25 years at Newton North High School, giving all the proceeds to a scholarship.
By this time, I had preferred to sing vocals in a band and found a chance to get on stage and have some fun with my music. My little guitar and me really had a ball either singing alone or with my back up guitarists.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving all kinds of music. I was lucky to be introduced to the opera “Aida” in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome on my first trip to Italy. I was sure I wouldn’t like opera but I fell in love with that, too, at an early age. I would go with my mother and grandmother to Lincoln Center and my grandmother would sing EVERY WORD of the opera along with the opera stars!!! How could I not have inherited that gene!!!
Music is the first thing I hear in the morning and the last thing that lulls me to sleep at night. Thank you to THASC’S artist Julie Ann Mills-Testi for keeping the music alive in all of us.
Have a wonderful, musical weekend.
See you next Tuesday.