In the lovely opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti, performed primarily at Christmas, is a tender scene where Amahl, a crippled shepherd lad with an extraordinarily vivid imagination, appears to be divinely healed. Upon taking his first step, he gazes upward at his mother and in awe-struck tones sings in hesitatingly sotto voce, “I walk... Mother! I walk... Mother!”
As I went into my second year of retirement this past July, I had decided to cease my yearlong newspaper column pontifications on the state of being newly retired.
Mishaps. They occur in everyone’s life. As a retiree I look back on my years as a music educator and recall musical mishaps, some of which I’d like to share with you.
I was working recently with a classroom at the school from which I retired last year. The teacher was having her students present the play “Anne of Green Gables,” which her classes have done several times over the years that I taught at the school. To add more to the play I found music to go along with the dialogue.
I have always been interested in my ancestral heritage, especially on my mother’s side, but never had the time to delve into it.
In a way, it’s as if I have simply been on a seven-month hiatus and am now returning to my regularly scheduled job.
I rarely, if ever, caught a cold during the years I was teaching, with seven classes a day coming in and out of my classroom, bringing their sniffles, snuffles, sneezes and coughs with them.
What a strange December I just journeyed through! Normally I would have experienced that month in the throes of having students present many school Christmas programs and concerts.
I was recently conducting a rehearsal of our church orchestra and realized as I stood up to begin that I had forgotten to bring my conducting baton. I remembered that all my batons are on my conductor’s stand in my classroom at school. So I conducted the rehearsal baton-less, with hand alone.
Part of my retiree volunteering is in a first- and second-grade classroom. I listen to individual students read aloud, then ask them questions about their books to ascertain what their comprehension is regarding what they read.