There are so many exceptional moments in a teacher’s career; ones that make us feel blessed to be in the field. We’ve helped many a student get into a great music college, learn a song for their wedding, get the leading part in the school play, form a great band and get signed. We feel privileged to be entrusted with your musical aspirations, a job we don’t take lightly.
“An artist can paint many a beautiful thing-of rivers and mountains and beautiful things. But it can’t capture the one love that I felt that day riding with Mom in her old Model A.”
One of our favorite stories, told below, comes from guitar student, Joyce, a retired school teacher who has been with us for 5 years. We were able to help her and her uncle write and arrange a song for her grandmother/his mother, which she was able to play at their family reunion. We recorded it with another young student (17yr old) on vocals and it became a family anthem.
As Told by Joyce
Basically, the story is this: During the Great Depression, my Grandma Suzie gave birth to her 13th child. Two weeks later, her husband-my grandpa-died of tuberculosis. Left alone on the dry, windy plains of Eastern Colorado with 13 children to raise- 10 boys and 3 girls- she somehow managed to keep the family together. Each one of those 13 children grew into decent, hard-working men and women who raised good families of their own.
Early one morning, my Uncle Phil, who was the new born infant when his dad died, called me and spoke with melancholy about Grandma Suzie and told me he wanted to write a song for his mom. He shared some lyrics with me: “An artist can paint many a beautiful thing-of rivers and mountains and beautiful things. But it can’t capture the one love that I felt that day riding with Mom in her old Model A.”
Simple and sweet like the man who wrote them. He said he didn’t know how to make it into a song. After the phone call, I didn’t think any more about it…until a few weeks later on Mother’s Day when I awoke and reflected on my grandmother. So I sat down at my kitchen table, worked with his (Uncle Phil) words, and wrote this song. The following month at our family reunion I accompanied 3 of my cousins on the guitar as they sang the song for our 5 remaining uncles and aunt. Tears flowed freely. I like to think that Grandma Suzie was in heaven looking down on all of us with a smile as her song was sung. I will ALWAYS be grateful to you for helping me with it so that I could perform it for my family (150+ people+), including the surviving aunt and uncles — who wept as they heard the words. It is difficult to convey just how much your music instruction has meant in my life, but this particular effort was a most precious gift.
Listen to Joyce’s Song