A love of music is planted early in life.
One of the ways we develop that love is by getting to know people who are passionate about music—people like our Season Three Guest Artists. We asked them to share musical memories from childhood. Come and hear them and meet them in person at our upcoming Community Concerts!
I was lucky to have a lot of vivid musical experiences packed into my childhood. One of them was the first time I played 4-hands piano music with Dan, at Apple Hill, in New Hampshire. I think I was 13. We played the original 4-hands rehearsal version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, which requires all kinds of choreographed hand-crossings—at one point, I had to play the upper and lower registers of the piano, while Dan fit himself in the middle, in between my hands. It makes the Dvořák I'll be playing with Dan seem like a walk in the park (or perhaps the forest?)
I remember from my childhood that the radio and records were always playing in our home. Normally my parents would have an afternoon coffee together around four o'clock, and that would be a time we would all hang out together as a family. Often my sisters and I would burst out singing and dancing, and just being crazy, even bringing the instruments we barely knew how to play at a time, and goofing around. Maybe that’s why I have always felt at home with music.
(Photo of Lihi dancing with her friends.)
When I was eight years old, I attended a Suzuki Institute as a dedicated violinist. Those were the pre-enlightened years of my musical education, before I learned about bass lines and the Bach Suites. At the end of the workshop, cellists flooded the stage and performed a life-changing rendition of “Old McCello,” a piece whose sole purpose was to showcase all of the weird sounds the cello can produce. In that moment, I realized the squeaky instrument I held next to my ear would have to be upgraded in favor of a more huggable animal noisemaker.
I have this memory of going to hear jazz concerts at Cheyney University, where my mother taught. The professors organized evening jazz concerts—some taught music, and others were professors of communications or sciences, but they all shared this incredible musical language. As a young teenager I remember going to the university at night and sitting beside my mom in a half-empty auditorium listening to these guys having what seemed like the time of their lives—great players like Terell Stafford and Shirley Scott, who seemed to be grinning and laughing nearly the whole time. There was so much joy in their music making!
Will Green, storytelling
From Worcester, MA – lives in Peaks Island, ME
When I was in middle school I got into one of those orchestras that required an audition. I think it was called a district orchestra. Because it was outside of my normal routine (not at my community music school or public school), I accidentally mixed up my schedule and realized I didn’t have a way of getting to the first rehearsal! At the last minute, I asked one of my sisters if she could drive me – she did! I remember it was almost an hour away. When I got to the auditorium everyone was on stage and the conductor was talking. No one seemed to notice that I was late, so I just slipped into my seat pulled out my music. We were playing Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slav. The moment we started playing I immediately felt this was the most amazing thing I’d ever heard in my life. Instantly I stopped being worried about being late and just felt overwhelmed by the power and passion of the music. I’ll always remember that first time playing with a full orchestra. I’m sorry I was late, but thank you Tchaikovsky!
Jazimina MacNeil, mezzo soprano
From Lincoln, MA – lives in Harrisville, NH
When we were little my brother and I listened to a certain cassette tape over and over again: Rudyard Kipling's Just So stories read by Jack Nicholson and accompanied by Bobby McFerrin. From the first sinewy melody in a far-off scale that Mr. McFerrin spun out of his body, we were transported to another world. That he could teleport us just with his voice and his breath was so completely WOW. This is when I learned that musicians are magicians.