When I was a child, our social life consisted of visiting with our few neighbors and the relatives who lived close by and going to church. We had no vehicle so our travels were limited.
As a child, I loved to sing and would insist that my Mom sing hymns with me. I also wanted to play the piano. I would sit at the table and pretend it was my piano and “play” on it.
When I was 11 or so, my parents bought me a piano and I started taking piano lessons. I was in heaven.
After enough lessons to read the notes, I got out the church hymnbook. I picked out one song and practiced it until I could play it well. When the piano player at our little country church [also my schoolteacher] learned that I was playing a [as in one] hymn at home, she decided I should play for the church services.
Not having TV or any of today’s distractions, I spent much of my time learning new songs. Other than practicing my piano lessons, my time was spent flipping thru the hymn book and learning to play more songs.
So, each Sunday, the choir would sing whatever songs I had learned to play. I wonder now how the adults felt having a 12 year old picking out all the songs for Sunday services. Before too long though because I loved the songs so, I could sight read well enough to play most any of the songs in the hymnal.
We also started attending the singing conventions which was held monthly in our county. When I was 13, I joined a quartet as pianist and alto singer. The guys in the quartet were all very talented and soon we were doing concerts at churches all over the county and surrounding area – sometimes two or three times a week.
I know it was hard on my Dad. He was working, farming and also going everywhere that the quartet went. At that age, it wasn’t exactly proper for me to run around with three guys my Dad’s age by myself. But he never complained and always seemed to enjoy it.
My Mom was not well during this time and my brother had to stay at home with her when we were gone. I suspect he resented me at times even though he never said anything.
When I decided to get married, I was also working and living in the next county, so I left the group.
I still haven’t lost my love for the music though. Gospel music with four voices in close harmony is still one of the sweetest sounds to my ears.