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Thankful for the Music in my Life


I have been musically inclined since I was in grade school. I played the clarinet from the 5th grade all through high school. I still have my clarinet. Every once in a while, I get it out and play the school song! I have it memorized. I wonder how many times I played it in high school? Countless times.

When I was young, I had an organ. I don’t remember where it came from, but I loved it. I would play many songs on it. My favorite was Silent Night. A perfect song for this time of year. And, it wasn’t hard to learn!

It was a very small organ. The keys were numbered. I had a book full of songs, with the notes also numbered. I was so glad I could read music. I know what a whole note is, quarter note, eighth note and what a rest is, and how many counts the to rest. Whether it is 4 or 2, and so on.

I have missed playing music! I am a bit rusty after all of these years. But, I can still read music. I learned from two of the best band directors ever! I began playing the clarinet when I lived in Tekamah. I was in the 5th grade and began taking clarinet lessons from Joe Chapman, the band director at Tekamah-Herman school. I continued playing there through my freshman year of high school. We moved to Oakland in August of 1978. I was leery about playing in the band at the Oakland-Craig school. I was used to a large band, of over 90 band members. When I came to Oakland, there were maybe 30 band members. I almost quit. I am thankful every day that I didn’t quit. Bryan Johnson was the band director. He turned a small band program into one of the best around! My senior year, district music contest was in Tekamah. Contest is the bands from the same district each playing in front of a group of judges, hopefully getting the highest honor, a superior rating. It is also small groups competing for the same honor. I was in a small group. There were three clarinet players, me included, and one saxophone player. I had not competed in a small group before. To say I was nervous is an understatement. We began playing the piece we had practiced for endless hours when my worst fear happened. A pad underneath one of my keys on the clarinet fell out! I had to stop us. When a pad falls out, the clarinet won’t play one single note! Mr. Johnson fixed it. I asked if we could start over and the judge said no. We had to start where I stopped us, which was about 12 measures into the song. We nailed it after that, but I was sure we wouldn’t get a superior rating and it would be because of me! When I walked out the door, who did I run into? Mr. Chapman! He had been standing outside the door, listening to us! He told me I did the right thing and we would get the superior. He was sure of it. He also told me Mr. Johnson is a great band director and Oakland was lucky to have him! We did get a superior and so did the band, for the first time ever in Oakland-Craig’s history! I cried that day. I was so happy. It was a day I have never forgotten and never will.

Mr. Johnson passed away six years ago and Mr. Chapman passed away recently. I was blessed to have known them. And blessed that they guided me throughout my band years. I will cherish my memories of them always.

I have wanted an electric keyboard/piano for years. I think of my organ all the time, and I missed it so much that I had to have one. I wanted to learn again. I want to keep the music in my life, not just listening to a radio, but playing it through my fingers! So, I bought myself one for Christmas. I ordered a book to help me learn more. I also have spend a lot of time on youtube learning songs. The first song I wanted to learn was Amazing Grace. Then I played Jingle Bells and Silent Night for the Christmas season, and Silent Night in memory of my organ that also sent me on this journey. I have a lot to learn. I will never by no means be a pianist. I am doing this for me. Music has always been important to me. I want to continue playing and learning. I may get my clarinet out again soon!

You are never too old to learn!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

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About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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