Tuesday, November 15, 2011

85 Years on this Earth

Virginia Hanigan.

The name is synonymous with music in my life.

When my father moved to Lindsay he was a Lutheran. He was of good Norwegian stock and that was the church you went to.

But the Lutheran Church in Lindsay did not have a choir. And father sang. Very well.

So he went to the various Protestant Churches and parsed them for their choirs.

He found Virginia Hanigan at the First Presbyterian Church.
First Presbyterian Church, Lindsay, California

So, as a result, I (and my brothers) ended up being Presbyterians.

Virginia was the choir director and, when I left in 1969, the choir had 40 voices.  And we were good.

Virginia had perfect pitch and a beautiful soprano voice. She could (and still does) play the piano so that it sings. And she taught music.

When I was around 8 my father bought me a Chickering piano. Brand new. Made of cherry wood to match the rest of Mother's living room furniture. And I began to take lessons from Virginia.

For 9 years Virginia toiled with me. I wouldn't practice. (Volleyball and track were far more important to me.) But I learned to read music and I learned to sing. And I could not wait to be old enough to sing in the church choir. (You had to be in high school)

At one point, Virginia had a detached retina in one of her eyes. She wasn't allowed to move her head after the surgery. Remember, this was over 40 years ago and the surgery was very invasive. My mom took care of her. And our family's became inexorably bound.

But there was always music. I can still play one or two of the pieces that I memorized for recitals. I hated them except for the new dresses that I got for them.

And she taught me to sing. Not just notes but music. Music for a life time.

And Saturday, I watched my music teacher celebrate 85 years on this earth. She even played the piano.

She will be at the Vocal Arts Christmas Concert. Front and center.

What a treat to sing for her again.

1 comment: