Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Violin Teacher...

Judie Schiller was about 17, a fine violinist at Woodstock School in  north India around 1950-51. I  had been a student at the school for about a year and played violin in the school orchestra of which she was the concertmeister. Now to back up a few years......

In hindsight it appears my father, William Kinzie, once he realized that I had some musical inclinations decided that he was going to grow a violinist if at all possible. He passionately loved music and would have made it a career had not being a missionary taken first place. He was my beginning teacher and stated  a rote to note sequence of instruction that resembled the now well known Suzuki school. before there ever was the same.

When we returned to America in 1945 he found a well known teacher, a Mrs. Spruhan living in Salem, Va, who continued my instruction. I performed in several of her recitals but was certainly not the star.

The family returned to India for a second term of missionary service and I became a full time student at Woodstock. From letters I had written home my father sensed that my musical enthusiasm was lagging and that his dream of violinist son was going to wither on the vine. What to do?

Seems there was this outstanding senior girl violinist who just might get my enthusiasm back on some sort of agreement was reached where she would give me lessons. For several months she did and
making music on the violin became a challenge and a possibility. I did look forward to my violin instruction with her. After she graduated I did not see her until recently

Several years ago at a Woodstock School reunion (WOSA),  we met again and talked briefly about our
lives in the intervening years. I never was the famous violinist my father dreamed of, but through fortunate encounters and opportunities seized ( my personal view is that the Lord had a great hand in it, but why me?)
I was allowed to live the life of a strings teacher in the Roanoke City  schools, played in the Roanoke Symphony, was a part time violinist at The Greenbrier resort hotel at White Sulphur Springs, WV and played many weddings at the famous Homestead Hotel  in Virginia  with trios and quartets of long standing.

In a few weeks if all goes as planned I will once again meet my second violin teacher at another WOSA gathering in Maryville, TN. Since we're to provide some music for the occasion there will be a real opportunity to learn of our lives and the outcome of their brief intersection. Hopefully we'll be able to learn from each other how to continue playing and functioning in our golden years..

To grow a successful musician takes patience, the right teachers and opportunities at the right time. I read somewhere that to grow a concert violinist there were some 16 steps that pretty much had to happen in sequence. Strings playing was passed on to our two girls and to two grandchildren.. A grandson who lives nearby has permitted me to teach him for a number of years since he was six. The experiment goes on.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Grandson's Graduation...

Grandma Lib in hotel lobby

Dan right after graduation ceremony

Granddad Bob White looking at diploma
This past weekend  June 1, 2013  our grandson Dan White graduated from Charter High School of Wilmington, DE.  It was a gala occasion with the ceremony occurring on the stage of the Dupont Hotel. There were over 200 graduates. I was impressed  by the decorum off the audience especially at the awarding of the diplomas; no cheering and catcalls, just respectful silence.
My grandfather as far as I can recollect did not attend college. All his children attended and a few even received advanced degrees. My graduating class at Mathias, WV  in 1955 was all of twelve strong. At least half  graduated from college. I distinctly recall feeling a little foolish in my cap and gown, even though I had scarcely attained the gold chord of the Honor society. Though college was a definite next step I knew that I was an adult only in name, that true adulthood was when you were economically independent. Still, there was the family jubilation upon my graduation.
Over the decades it is the college degree that signals entrance into adulthood and that open doors to jobs  or careers that promise some economic security or personal fulfillment. Dan graduated from  one of  the nation's top high schools and will be attending Temple University nearby with  both academic and  sports scholarships. He soccer abilities have been noted.
The Hotel Dupont, one of the venerable and classy national hotels has a history going back a hundred years and she carries her age with dignity and aplomb. That the school holds its ceremonies at  this venue speaks volumes.
Afterwards we celebrated at his home with both sets of grandparents and family.

Bill, Dan, and Lib