The thing I remember most about him is his singing.
Story has it that he joined the Lindsay Presbyterian Church because of its choir (and its choir director--Virginia Hanigan) He was, as a striking viking from Minnesota, a Lutheran. But singing mattered more than liturgy.
Story has it that he made a recording of "Always" and sent the record to my mother before he shipped out to the South Pacific.
Dad would sing whether you asked him or not. He lead the singing at any public event. He could be found at the weekly Kiwanis Club meeting leading the men of the small community in "America" or other patriotic songs.
He was Virginia's go-to tenor for solos. I have one recording of his singing- a solo in a song written by Virginia and Joe Ippolito (my high school senior humanities teacher). I play it every once in a while just to hear him sing.
One of those strongest memories that I have is of Dad singing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" to me at a family party. He had imbibed a bit but he stayed on key through the whole song.
He was the only person that could quiet my daughter when she was suffering from colic. He would walk the house singing any song he could think of. She didn't sleep. She just lay her head on his shoulder and listened.
He was happiest when he was singing. He had no training- just a natural talent. Until he joined a barbershop group in a nearby town (Porterville). He was in his 60's then but his voice improved and his tone mellowed as he learned techniques ways to breathe.
But I never saw one of his barbershop performances. I was a single mom then and I was finishing law school and starting my career.
But now I would give anything to have hear them and to see the look on his face as he reveled in the performance.That has become a stronger feeling now that I have had the privilege of singing with a talented director (Gary Lamprecht) and a group of dedicated singers better known as Vocal Arts Ensemble who have taught me those same techniques. Singing with those who share your passion for music is indescribable.
He had found his group and shared that passion.
Today, my high school friend, John Bastady sent me pictures for 1987 of the Mineral King Chorus (I THINK that was the name) .
I got to see his face while he was singing.
He was happiest when he was singing.
|Second row, second from the left. Harold "Giz" Gisvold|
Of all my mixed feeling about my father, the thankfulness I feel for the gift of song outweighs everything else.