My classical moment was in eighth grade music class. Mr. Gomez came in and said he was going to need some people to play the viola and cello in the orchestra next year. I didn’t want to lug a cello back and forth to school, so I opted for the viola. For the next four years I was the third chair violist, and truth be told, I never learned to play it very well. Besides supplying instruments and basic lessons, our county high school provided a bus and discount tickets to hear the Utica Symphony, 15 miles away. The Utica Symphony played in a high school auditorium and all the musicians had day jobs, but they had a new young conductor who challenged the musicians and exposed the community to greater music than you would ever find on am radio. His name was Jose Serebrier, and I am delighted to hear him conducting great orchestras being played on CapRadio.
I truly appreciate my high school (maybe 1000 students in grades 7-12) for their dedication to the music program. We had four full time music faculty. I really regret that schools today have cut back on music, art and drama. Our orchestra, and I presume the band and choir, too, had students from farm families, blue collar families and white collar families. We learned to “play well together”.