Music on Mondays (10-20-14)—All is now right with the world

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music has been an integral part of my life since I was two years old.

My maternal grandmother played the flute, my maternal grandfather played the violin, and my mom played the piano and organ.

Mom started her children on piano lessons when they reached age two, with her as the teacher. When we entered first grade, we had to choose a second instrument. I chose the violin. That was in Brigham City, Utah, in 1962.

I took a greater interest in the violin; my last piano recital was at our neighborhood Mormon church in Brigham City, but I have no idea what pieces I played. Here’s the church, though, which I tracked down using Google Maps, Google Street View, and Google Images:

Mormon church in Brigham City Utah stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I don’t remember my first violin recital, I do remember the first medal I won for my violin playing. The medal still hangs on my office bulletin board. Looks like this:

UIL violin solo medal

That was in the eighth grade in the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition. Sadly, when I went off to college at Texas A&M University, my wise old grandmother sold all of my personal belongings that I left behind, including my other medals from grades 9-12. This first medal, then, is the only one I have left because it has always stayed with me.

Of course, we got comments on our performance:

UIL violion solo comments

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Stand up straight hold your violin up!
Leggiero means off the string (bounce)
You pay no attention to dots
d# in meas 68 also 92
This is just barely a I performance
make an effort to solve all the problems next year
You are on the right track”

The piece I played was “Tambourin” by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), one of the most important French composers and music theorists from the Baroque era. The comment sheet adds “Kreisler” to Rameau’s name, probably meaning that I played a variation by Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962).

Here is a performance of the piece that I found on YouTube:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I searched for decades to find that piece, but all I could remember was Fritz Kreisler. I looked at hundreds of sheet music and listened to YouTube videos but could never find it, obviously because the composer was Rameau rather than Kreisler. Not until recently when I was exploring some of my old treasure chests did I find the comment sheet with the title and composer names. All is now right with the world….

I continued to play violin until April 1993 when I moved to San Diego unexpectedly. My orchestra career including playing with the Texas A&I University Symphony while still in high school, the Corpus Christi Symphony in 12th grade, the Houston Symphony for six months in 1973-1974, and the Brazos Valley Symphony in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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13 thoughts on “Music on Mondays (10-20-14)—All is now right with the world

  1. DailyMusings

    What a wonderful post! Bravo! I eagerly await a youtube of you playing the violin. 🙂 My husband learned to play the piano only in his 40’s, and is now in his 60’s is taking lessons again. I love having piano music in the background every evening while he practices.

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  2. Buddy

    That’s amazing, I have comment sheet from the Texas solo and ensemble competition that look almost identical though they’re about 40 years older! The power of carbon copies..

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. philosophermouseofthehedge

    Violin and not fiddle? (Always annoying to my mom when my dad called her a fiddler in jest. She was quite talented.) We got stuck with piano lessons. My brother the talented one got to stop and play football. I got trapped for years – it was a long time before people figured out I played totally by ear. Mom was livid. But I’m not “lazy” – dyslexic and the piano has the low notes on the wrong end/hand as far as I’m concerned. I loved the violin and played several years in school…but mom sold the little violin and refused to let me continue with it in Jr High.
    We have my husband’s childhood piano still – he played well as a child – I plunk out Christmas carols sometimes.
    But you sound really talented. I never got any awards and managed to avoid contests ( bet my teachers were glad…)
    How nice you have that page and medal. (What’s with that generation? – my mom gave stuff faster than you can blink – and without permission even when I was in college. So mad)

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      My wise old grandmother was angry at me because I went off to college at Texas A&M University, 300 miles away, instead of staying home, living with her, and going to Texas A&I University which was four blocks away. Selling all my stuff at one of her garage sales was her way of ensuring that when I left, I left for good………..LOL

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  4. litebeing

    Love this melody!! I do not know if you are aware, but during Mercury Retrograde, finding old treasures often comes quite easily! ( till this Friday) Music is in my blood all along my mother’s side. I can play ( a tiny bit ) of piano from memory, but it may be that the gift stopped with my mom! I always enjoy your family posts.

    peace,

    Linda

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  5. coastalcrone

    Wow! I am so impressed that you played with the best in South Texas and Houston! Your talents are boundless! We attend the CC Symphony occasionally. The Performing Arts Center at TAMU-CC is beautiful where they play now. I played the piano and organ for church when I was young but have neglected my piano in my older years.

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