Thursday, March 18, 2010
Like all of my activities then and now I started clarinet playing with great enthusiasm. Reached quickly a very modest plateau which I maintained through eighth gradne and then dropped off freshman year high school. I was never better than last chair clarinet section and in 6th had 4th graders ahead of me.
I played away from the band in public twice. First in a 5th grade class program I played a solo, "There's an Old Spinning Wheel." When it could have been Phil Squires , a duet before his mother's social club. Why me? When it could have been Phil Squires. Even Wayne is wondering that today. I was so bad at keeping time that Wayne put his foot on mine to tap the beat. Again, there was no encore. But as I remember, we finished together.
By eighth grade, Junior High I was an accomplished faker. Or maybe Paul Webgb, the band leader, didn't care. I wasn't ruining the performance for the rest of the band. Then, even today as I write this I'm starting to squirm in my chair. A.E. Jones, the district Superintenant , a former music teacher visited the band practice. He immediately notice the lack of so much as a twang from the faker in the clarinet section. The rest of the band hour was devoted to the musical education of Lee Christensen. Paul Webb's contract was not renewed and the rumor around town was that the faker in the clarinet section was responsible. A.E.'s son, Kenneth was one of the 4th graders ahead of me in the section.
I was never much of a performer. As a sophomore seven of us danced as Snow White's dwarfs in Margaret Nielson's dance revue. We were so out of step, everyone thought it burlesque. Newel, Billy Beck and Lyn Poulsen were three of the hoffers. Because I wore glasses, I was Dumbo of the group.
And then in an all male senior year, one act play, performed but once at assembly I forgot my lines. Because I couldn't hear the prompter, I pulled the script from my pocket; looked up the forgotten line and read it. Haberbosch still remembered forty years later when he saw me at our 40th (Class Reunion at Wasatch). Told me he gave up directing after that.
Years earlier after one of my on-stage performances, A.E. Jones corrected my presentation. This was at an Armistice Day Assembly, probably eighth grade, where L.R. Christensen Jr. dressed as a WW1 soldier was telling the audience how the war started. I kept confusing Serbia with Siberia. After my presentation A.E. took me aside and explained the difference. I doubt that I wrote the script so we must have had a confused teacher. A.E. probably wondered why with about eighty teachers in the District he had to be the one to straighten out the Christensen kid.
I don't know what happened to A.E. and his family after they left Mt. Pleasant. He was at one time president of Carbon Junior College. He died in San Luis Obispo, California so may have been affiliated with Cal-Poly the university there. He was an outstanding educator, but good as he was he couldn't make a clarinet player out of me. L.R.