We cheered when they sat down to play

My only drawback to teaching choral music was my lack of ability to play the piano.  I confess to ‘cheating’ when, as a senior, I listened to my piano teacher’s instructions as each of her students played  their ‘piano barrier’.  We were required to play a hymn of the teacher’s choosing; all major and minor scales and name the sharps and flats in both major and minor key signatures. Part of my full scholarship was to open and close the music building each day. Since I had a master key, I could enter the basement boiler room and by placing a ladder under the A/C return, I could hear what Mrs. McPherson was asking each student. She seemed to ask each one to play the first hymn in the Baptist Hymnal.  I  rehearsed, “Holy, Holy, Holy” until I was blue-in-the-face and felt I could struggle through it OK.  I did so and as I was leaving, she said, “Now I believe in Miracles, Mr. Austin”.  (I had not been the most prolific student since our Male Quartet was away touring area high schools as many as three-times each week)  For rehearsals, all I could do was play the ‘key chord’ of each selection, so it was most important to have students who could accompany for rehearsal and performances. I know of a few of those who served, but rather than leave someone off, I will simply say, “Thank You and God Bless”.  It was a complete sacrifice for each of them.  They could only sing in selections for which they were not playing.  Over the decade, plus, I was blessed with some extremely talented young men and women who made GOD and their Director smile.  If any former students read this Blog, I ask that they comment with names of those who sat down to play during their years in Bryan.

3 thoughts on “We cheered when they sat down to play

  1. I remember Party Mattox playing for us, and there were probably others as well. I even played for Solo and Ensemble contest my senior year (1971)!

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  2. I accompanied in high school! It was quite an experience. Really had to be ‘on my toes’ to learn all the music & keep with with Mr A. But it was a time I wouldn’t trade for anything. Beautiful music and being a part of something much greater than the individuals in it! “The LORD bless you and keep you”, Mr Austin! – Jim Miller SFA ’70

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