One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. -Bob Marley
I can remember the exact day, 56 years ago that my love for classical music began. It was the summer of 1956 and, as for the past couple of years, I had been sent off by my parents to stay with my Aunt and Uncle in San Diego. My dad was going back to school in the summers to get a Masters Degree in Education and my mom, saddled with 5 young kids, needed some relief (as the middle child I was a bit unruly). So, little Johnny (don’t ever call me that) was shipped from Myrtle Creek, Oregon (a very tiny logging community in the Cascade Mountains) to the big city of San Diego, California.
My Uncle worked nights at the San Diego Tribune newspaper, so most of my days were spent with my Aunt Dorothy while Uncle Blackie slept. We did all kinds of interesting things, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, the Aquarium, clambered around a retired US WWII aircraft carrier at the naval base, went to Tijuana, Mexico to shop for string puppets, and visited my grandparents who lived not far away in El Cajon (my grandfather had the most amazing workshop full of “cool stuff”).
But the greatest impression from all my summers in San Diego was that day in 1956 when we drove downtown to see the CineScope Wide Screen showing of Walt Disney’s movie, Fantasia. Up to that point my only exposure to classical music was as the background music for cartoons on television. And to top it off, this was my first time at a movie theatre.
When the lights dimmed and the curtain slowly drew back to expose the super wide screen, my eyes grew to the size of saucers as the backlit image of conductor Leopold Stokowski ascended to the podium. I was mesmerised by his voice as he began to describe the orchestra and the coming production. But when he raised his baton and the Supersound system exploded, I was hooked for life.
Through my college days in the mid to mid to late sixties I listened to lots of Doors, Beatles, Stones, Joplin, Mamas and Papas, James Taylor, Bob Marley, Carole King, Roy Orbison and many other music stars of the time, but always in my collection of vinyl records were Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, Chopin, Mendelssohn. I usually played these when I was studying. The rock stuff was reserved for the weekend and beer parties.
So I guess, after thinking about it, it is inevitable that my daughter, Stephanie, is a classical violinist and budding opera singer. I blame it all on Walt Disney . . .
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress