While writing this blog, I thought it would be nice to mention those people who were an inspiration to me in my musical career. To start, I need to mention that I come from a midwestern community in Illinois, called Canton. While growing up in the Canton Schools, we had very strong elementary, junior high and high school music programs.
My earliest inspiration was my elementary music teacher, Miss Vickie Young. Miss Young taught us in a way that inspired us to enjoy music for all of our life. I remember being in our end of the year musical. This was when selected students from all of the elementary schools performed a full concert with singing and some choreography. Miss Young and Mr. Richard Etter (who taught at some of the other elementary schools) put together an extravaganza that I still remember to this day.
This program was performed at the high school auditorium. We always had a full audience. Mr. Etter was known for being involved in the local playhouse and was very good at choreography. We did everything from american folk music to popular music of the time. We wore appropriate costumes to fit the show's theme. This was a major production which took a lot of practice time. From I remember, it was well worth it.
Another inspiration had to be singing in the local church choir. As an elementary student, I attended the Canton Church of the Brethern and got to sing in the choir. Led by volunteers, Harley and Jackie Davis, we learned how to read music and sing with 4 part harmony. Both Harley, Jackie and their children were involved in the local playhouse, as well. When I entered high school, I started going to the local methodist church. The choir director, Allen Webner, was the director. They had an extremely strong choral program. I took voice lessons from Mr. Webner during my high school years.
All of the singing opportunities I had greatly influenced my ear training and enjoying music. So, my early years was influenced by Vickie Young, Richard Etter, Allen Webner, and Harley & Jackie Davis.
Next time I will write about my junior high years and being a part of an abolutely great band program led by Mr. John Thompson.