When I look back, I can see how singing brought so much happiness into my life.
It all started in grade schools with a music teacher coming to your classroom and teaching us songs. At Madison High, one of my favorite music teachers was Mrs Soarie. She was a very dedicated and excellent teacher and tried to get everyone involved.
One year, I went to Model summer school when I was in the fourth grade, I remember a music teacher pushing a small piano into our classroom and playing songs for us to sing to.
I loved it.
Later in the fourth grade, we had a choir that performed at the Hiram Brock Auditorium at Eastern Kentucky Teachers College in the Christmas program. I remember that I had a small solo part in one of the songs and I felt so proud to sing it.
One line that I still remember is, "Though small thou art, a little baby" then the chorus came in and sang, "still thy praises shall we sing."
Later in junior high and high school, I was always in a singing group or choir and it was wonderful. Christmas was always special with so many great songs to sing.
Another thing we did back in the 1930s and 1940s was Christmas caroling. Every year several of us would get together and go caroling in a three or four block radius and sing carols to people we knew. Sometimes we got rewarded with hot chocolate and cookies.
When TV came along, in the 1940s, it put a hurt on Christmas caroling.
I graduated from Madison High School during World War II, in 1942, and went into the US Coast Guard on Jan. 6, 1943.
After boot camp, in a questionnaire they found out I had a musical background, so I was introduced into the United States Coast Guard Choir. I also played in the drum and bugle corp, since I had played a trumpet in Madison High's band.
For almost all of 1943 I was in these two programs.
The choir performed almost weekly at some program on base that had stars off Broadway like Frank Sinatra, Kate Smith and many other celebrities that were happy to entertain the sailors. There were three or four of us who went on on liberty and sang patriotic songs, in the bars, around New York.
It was fun and we never had to buy a drink, especially in Irish town.
In 1944, I volunteered for sea duty and I was on the U.S.S. Bangor until the end of the war. Didn't find many singers on the ship and we were so busy we didn't have much time to sing.
After the war, me and three friends from Richmond, bought a cabin, on a hill, in Clark County across from Boonesboro beach, that is when singing really took front stage. We went down to the cabin almost every weekend and, after a couple of beers, we sang, sang, sang.
Never a singing session went by that we didn't sing "I've been working on the railroad," or "You are my sunshine," or "Down by the old mill stream."
We had about five more songs that we loved and sang every session.
The first year we owned the cabin, we were down there every weekend. The second year we were there once a month and the third year we sold it, from lack of use.
Great memories though.
After I married Carolyn in 1982, we did get to go Christmas caroling a couple of times with some of our friends from Union City. The last time I got a chance to sing a solo was at a fundraising golf tournament for the EKU men's golf team at Arlington several years ago.
After Coach Pat Stephens introduced the team to the players he asked me to sing a song which originated in the late 1940s when I was on the golf team.
Here is that song:
"We're the boys from Eastern you hear so much about and all the women look at us whenever we go out. We're noted for the crazy and the daring things we do. All the whole world loves us, we hope you love us too. As we go golfing and the band begins to P-L-A-Y. You can hear them shouting. Oh they're the best damn golfers in the world."
That solo was my swan song and I got a kick out of it. I still try to sing but my voice is so feeble and off key and my hearing is so bad I can't tell if I'm off key or not. I will always have a great love for singing even if it is bad, and I shall keep trying until I lay it down.
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore -- Andre Gide
Until next time, Live, love, laugh and learn ... Glenmore