One of the most influential people in my life was a high school music teacher. A couple decades before Glee there were those of us that wanted to be in what was called; “Show Group” where I attended high school.
I grew up in a house filled with music. My mother was the church organist and my sister loved the Beetles and the Beach Boys (in that order). I seriously doubt one single day passed that I did not sing along to either a church tune or a Beach Boys song (my preference). Like many others at my high school I wanted to be with the fascinating upperclassmen in Show Group!
Even though my voice talent was limited, the Music Teacher selected me along with five other of my classmates my freshman year. He later told my mother that he never would select that many ninth graders again in his career. We talked too much! Ha!
Show Group was more than learning tunes and singing in perfect harmony. The Music Teacher taught us many life lessons I use to this day.
Present yourself well – We were normally the best dressed group in the county. While the Music Teacher let the seniors choose the dresses, colors, and tux styles he had FULL creative control. Wrinkled clothing was unacceptable and students were loathe to even try to walk into a show looking a step below impeccable.
Smile – No matter what,…always smile. If your neighbor on the bleachers stepped on your foot it did not matter. Smile through the tears.
Fake it until you make it – Brain cramp? Forget the words? Keep your lips moving! You will eventually catch up to the rest of the group. Keep at it!
Respect Your Elders – We often did shows at Nursing Homes or for elderly groups. We were encouraged (although not required) to go to the rooms and meet with the residents or folks that came to hear us sing. I still have memories of some of the smiles on the nursing home residents faces when a sharp dressed high school student offered to push their wheelchair down to the recreation rooms. I am sure many talked about the experience for a week.
Years after graduating the Music Teacher played for my father’s funeral. I was excited to see him and approached him with trepidation. Would he remember me?
Of course he did remember. His comment to me;
“I will never forget how we could never get your glasses to stay straight on your face.”
Thanks for the memories Mr. Music Teacher