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Apr. 25 2012

Your first time…

By Diana Ross | Posted in Member Blogs, Staff Blogs | Comments Off on Your first time…

In our April newsletter, Albert Anker Schreibunterricht 1865we asked readers to write in about their earliest musical experience.  Everyone at the station is thoroughly enjoying your stories!

We’ll be posting a few at a time over the next few weeks, so keep checking back.


Member John Fay of Wheaton, MD writes:

I can’t remember when good music wasn’t there when I was growing up. My mother had taught music in local schools and soloed in churches. In the attic one day I came across my father’s old mandolin, guitar and banjo-mandolin, probably unplayed since college. We had an old upright Victrola (This is the 30s, of course) and my friends and I played whatever we could find in the cabinet, frequently “Death of Custer” by Arthur Pryor’s Band.

One experience I’ll always remember was hearing “Music for a Queen’s Taste” sponsored by the Thursday Morning Music Club (on Wednesdays) on WDBJ in Roanoke, VA. The theme was the waltz from “Serenade for Strings” by Tchaikovsky. I didn’t want that because I was looking for the “National Farm and Home Hour” that would play a march or two. This was during WWII. Now, I love that piece of music and think of that happy time (for me).


Member and long-time volunteer Maria Louisa Barata from Reisterstown, MD writes:

You could say that music has been in my life since before I was born.  My mother had studied piano when she was young – she continued her studies when I was in college, and only recently stopped taking formal lessons a few years ago – but music was always very important to her.  I was the third child born to my mother Cecilia.  (Antonio, my older brother, went on to become a composer and theory teacher.)

When I was about 6 months or so, my mom noticed that I seemed to be humming or, to be literal, more like I was doing a combination of humming and la-la-ing.  At first she thought she was hearing just the odd note, but one day she stayed to see if I would continue.  Here I was at 6 months of age giving my mother a weird rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy!  I was a sucker for Ludwig even at that age, so is it no wonder that my favorite piece of music is Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto?

Thanks for the opportunity to tell you about my “first” time.


Member and streaming listener Mike from Hampstead, NC  writes:

My earliest memory that led to a love of classical music is the 78 rpm records that my dad and grandfather had and that I remember listening to as a young child.  I used to stand in front of my grandfathers radio console and conduct an imaginary orchestra. My dad and I used to play “Guess the Composer.” Another early memory was being allowed to have dinner with my family in the living room so we could watch Arturo Toscanini conduct the NBC Symphony live in black and white on television.  Saturday nights, I believe.  Another quantum leap for me in my musical development was working at the Cornell student run radio station, WVBR, as a student there in the early ’60’s.  It got me out of the standard repertoire and I learned about composers like Vaughan Williams, and Hovhannes of whom I had never heard before.  We used to have 24 hour classical music marathons during finals week.

Much of this time, I also played clarinet and oboe in school, and, after a 40 years lapse, took up the clarinet again about six years ago, studied with Ed Palanker before leaving Baltimore, and now play with the New Horizons Concert Band and a chamber group called Petite Arpeggio at UNCW.  Some of us also play for the students’ conducting class. We have also enjoyed, as spectators, the Wilmington Symphony,Chamber Music Wilmington (I am on the artistic committee now) and the MetOpera HD broadcasts here, not to mention student recitals, so even though we miss the BSO, Wilmington has a lot to offer musically.

Probably more than you wanted to hear, but is has all been great fun, and the impact of those 78 rpm records did stick!


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Diana Ross is not the famous Supremes singer, but she does have big hair. Working in both Membership and Operations departments, she does a little bit of everything, including administering this website. You can contact her at dross@bccc.edu.

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