I was a fortunate child to grow up in such a culturally rich area. My first elementary school field trip was to see the Baltimore Symphony and they performed music from my favorite movie: Star Wars.
Afterwards, I begged my mother to let me learn to play the violin. I badly wanted to join the school band! She said no (cost prohibitive) and I joined the school chorus instead (I even made to All-County Choir several years in a row!) As I went through school, I picked up the guitar and piano, as well as dabbling with many other instruments. I even met my husband in one of those music classes (although he’s sworn me to secrecy about which instrument he played!)
As an adult, I decided to learn the violin and quickly realized the overriding reason my mother firmly said “no”. The NOISES that came out of that thing were DREADFUL! I had to wear ear plugs and practice in one of WBJC’s sound-deadening studios until I got the hang of it!
More of WBJC’s listeners share their first musical experiences with us:
Member Gene Way of Davidsonville, MD writes:
My introduction to classical music came at Continental School #3, Elizabeth NJ. Time frame: 1940.
The music teacher, Mrs. Doe, taught us to read music and to sing. Some days, instead of pushing the piano into the classroom; Mrs. Doe carried a small portable record player. It played the old shellac records. The record player meant it was Music Appreciation class. What a treat! Over the years we learned to listen to and appreciate a wide selection of classical music. Music that still gives me pleasure. That is where I first heard The Moldau. Thus, when I stood on the Charles Bridge in Prague not too many years ago, I remembered Mrs. Doe, and I smiled.
Other resources; Metropolitan Opera House, the old one, offered student matinees. The house filled with students from NJ, NY and Connecticut for the performances at student rates. How we cheered when our schools were named.
WQXR in New York and the fabled Walter Damrosch program added to our knowledge of music.
Music is for a lifetime. And in our area WBJC helps us continue the enjoyment of music. Thank you.
Member Richard W. Murphy of Silver Spring, MD writes:
My first musical experience was piano. I began taking piano lessons at age six and continued for the next 10 years. That experience imbued me with a love of classical music, especially overtures and symphonies. During that period, I imagined myself as an orchestra conductor. I had an orchestral score of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and, standing on a footstool, I would lead the orchestra as it played on our phonograph.
At age 11, I began singing as a soprano in the men and boys choir at Grace Episcopal Church in my hometown, Elmira, NY. We boys received excellent voice training from our organist and choirmaster, William H. Morvan. I was soloist for almost two years. In my final solo at age 14, when the church service was broadcast on WENY, the local radio station, I had to reach a high “A.” Because my voice was changing, I was very nervous, but I nailed that note solidly, with great relief!
Dee Krasnansky of Westminster, MD writes:
I saw operas on TV when a child–Lucia, Don Giovanni and Boris plus Amahl and The Night Visitors. I still think that the ending of Don Giovanni for that audience was dramatically the best–the commandante walked the Don into the flames of hell and that was it! Since then, of course, the productions have included Mozart’s ending with the sextet (?) giving their thoughts and I always wish that the director would cut that out. After all, they don’t preserve every word of Shakespeare’s plays so why think that every note of Mozart is sacred?
I loved Amahl and distinctly remember wondering why Casper pronounces the candy he offers to Amahl as licoriss and not licorish as I heard at home. That first production was perfect; after seeing the taped color version shot on location and the first one again, I appreciated the spontaneity of that live performance. After all, it’s crucial to believe that the miracle happens in the blink of an eye.
As for affecting my musical tastes–a seed was planted for later I studied voice, became a music teacher and a Baltimore Opera and Symphony subscriber as well as a WBJC member and listener to the Saturday afternoon opera broadcasts.Tags:members, memories