Dad's Memories

Music in our Life

- 08 May 98 - 08 May 98

Music played a big part in our life from the time we were knee-hi-to a grasshopper.

Mother was a superb pianist - an ex piano teacher - had a beautiful, rich Contralto voice. Gatherings around the piano were a nightly get-together to listen to Mom play & join in singing the popular songs and the old favorites. Mom had sheetmusic for most all songs, but didn't use it - could play anything we wanted -in any key. Pitch too high? OK a couple of modulating chords and we were off in a lower key.

The upright piano was easily the focal point in our living/music room in the house on Church Ave where we grew up, and you know - I can't even remember what otther furniture was in that room!!

Art joined the Boy Scouts and soon came home with a Bugle, drove us nuts with some Godawful noise for a while, and then began to play different Buglecalls from the Scout Drum & Bugle Corps of Boy Scout Troop 159. I thought he was the cats meow -my big brother- in the Band !! Of course the kid brother had to try the horn, and Art got me my own mouthpiece -cause you shouldn't be using someone elses mouthpiece.

Just Bugling wasn't enuff for Art and he brought home drumsticks -and a 6 inch square rubber pad- to protect the tabletop in the diningroom. He got to be very good on the "stiks" and played in both, or either, the Drum or Bugle lines. I tried but never could do that drumstick stuff.

And then I turned 12 yrs old - old enuff to JOIN THE BOY SCOUTS an event for me . By now there was a Scout Band added to Troop 159 activities. Art had advanced to begin playing a Trumpet - Mr. Seymour hired a Bandmaster to instruct the Scouts and everything. I could already play bugle calls on Arts Bugle -after a fashion- and asked if maybe could I try to learn the Trumpet too? And play in the Band. So, Mr. Goldman ( Bandmaster) had me open my mouth to check how the teeth came together, had me play a bugle call -and WOW I got a brand new King Trumpet for my veryown to learn on !! Talk about cloud nine, even Art didn't get a horn that nice to play. Maybe the fact that Art was now an Ass't Scoutmaster had something to do with me getting that nice horn to use.

Arts Cornet Instruction Book had, besides different scales to practice on, some Duets, and Solo Cornet music and the nitely sessions around the Piano -after a while- added Trumpet Duets, or Solos, with piano accompanyment. Mom could just "make up" an accompanyment after we'd gone thru the song on the horn. The neighbor kids would come in to listen, or join in the singing - we made the proverbial "welkin ring".

Then on ONE GREAT DAY - Mr. Seymour came to the house and GAVE me a WONDERFULL PRESENT, a Gold Plated, long model, Holton-Clarke Cornet as an award for "most improved" over the past year.. I'm not sure whether it might have had something to do with my having received a Boy Scout award for a life saving thing earlier in the year, but I still have That treasured horn after 70 odd years and a bunch of other horns along the way.

Our Scoutmaster, Mr Walter B Seymour, was a Stockbroker on Wall St, a Bachelor, and devoted to Scouting. A personal friend of Dan'l Beard, founder of the Boy Scout movement. Mr Seymour -or known as "Walter B" to us Scouts- financed all the troop Drum/Bugle, and Band activities, including hiring Mr Goldman ( Bandmaster) to teach and conduct the Band. Mr Seymour had a chauffeur driven limo and -- well thats a separate story for another time-- getting late and my eyes are burning-- off to bed now.........

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