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:
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:
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:
“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:
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.
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