My Introduction To Good Music

My Introduction To Good Music

My first introduction to a piece of classical music at the age of eleven was when our very gifted and young church organist, Ray Bohr, played the “Meditation” from that, I was captured. I waited joyously each Sunday for what he would play so I could learn. Our Pastor liked to feature this young man’s talent during the offertory.

As I grew older, I sang in all three choirs and with my high school glee club for four years and where the music of the Metropolitan Opera, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sunday afternoon concerts at Carnegie Hal were opened to me. After World War II, I sang with my hometown Pearl River Choral Society and got to know its excellent guest artists.

As I went along I broadened out to enjoy the music of Broadway shows and the light classics and Gilbert and Sullivan and the years of the good bands – Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Guy Lombardo.

My father was an amateur musician and would have given his life (and did) to be a professional, but he was not to live that long. However, in his young years he had a quartet who sang over the early days of radio in 1922 and 1923 on Stations WEAF and WOR. They were heard as far away as Boston. During the Depression, he had a four-piece dance band that played in what was called a “roadhouse” on Saturday evenings. He had a beautiful bass voice with a tenor range and played piano, banjo and guitar.

Going back to the young church organist whose dream it was to play the organ at Radio City Music Hall. This dream did come true for him and he was there from 1950 to the closing in 1979 at which time he was the Head Organist for a number of years upon the retirement of Dick Liebert.

Below is a video featuring the talents of Ray Bohr:

I have never lost my love of good music nor the joy I have had in knowing and working with some fine musicians.

Claire B. Lamb
October 2012 © Southbury, CT

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