Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Rhythms of childhood

Musical performance is the Sepia Saturday theme this week - pianos in particular.  Well, even though pianos and music have been a feature of our family's life in the past, I don't have any photos to prove it.

It seemed that almost every home had a piano or an organ and piano lessons went hand-in-hand with that. My mother, Mavis, played organ in church as does my mother-in-law, Shirley. Shirley also taught piano for many years. And their mothers were pianists and organists as well. My grandparents, Pop and Gran Smith, had a pianola that we kids found very entertaining - I wonder where it is now?

Our three children played musical instruments right through school and beyond, in various bands and concert bands. Here they are in about 1984 in our garden  - Kerrie has my acoustic guitar (that she couldn't play) and Gemma and Glenn are providing the percussion.

Gemma and Glenn had a few years of piano lessons, and I found one scratchy scanned photo of Glenn actually sitting at the piano, but they went on to other instruments once they joined the school band. Kerrie played flute, Gemma the oboe and Glenn the trombone.

Gemma studied music performance as a subject at school as well as doing the usual music exams. In her final year at school we went on a family camping holiday to Broken Hill in outback New South Wales. Gemma practiced every day, because her final exam was looming, and it is an abiding memory for me. The sound of the oboe in the dry Australian desert was awe-inspiring and very moving. Here she is playing under the Red Gums beside Menindee Lake.

Kerrie playing the cymbals in a school band performance at Barwon Park, Winchelsea. 
Gemma conducting the school band in her final year.
Glenn playing the trombone (at home)
Glenn now lives in Switzerland and plays euphonium in a community band that performs at end-of-winter street festivals in villages around Zurich. There are several YouTube videos of their street performances but I think you might enjoy this video of a different type of performance by his band. [Note: I don't think this plug-in will work with Chrome on Android. This link might work ]

In our home we have a piano that is rarely opened now because I don't/can't play any more, but our grandchildren like to bash the notes when they visit. Here's Craig encouraging teddy to play.


  1. Aw, Craig and the teddy bear -- that's so sweet. My girls took piano lessons until middle school when they joined orchestra. As long as they were getting some music education, I was happy.

  2. My goodness - what a musical family you are! Everyone knows teddies are brilliant keyboard players.

  3. What a talented family you have, and I love the video!

  4. I could almost hear the soundtrack to this post. Some great old pictures.

  5. Would love to have heard the oboe played in the bush. That would definitely be shivers time. Just thinking but over the years so many more sshools have got their own orchestra so possibly this encourages more kids to take up an instrument, not just the piano, but any instrument which gives them the pleasure of making their own music. Home music has simply moved in a different direction.

  6. There's certainly lots of people in your family who can carry a tune. A piano in the home encourages music of every kind, I think because it covers such a wide range of notes from bass to soprano. Most of my musician friends, like myself, had a piano even though we ended up picking up another instrument. (I chose horn)

  7. There's something about playing (& hearing) a lone instrument outdoors - be it in a quiet wood, or beside a lake or wherever that is almost spiritual. The picture of your daughter practicing her oboe under the trees brings back some wonderful memories of music camp.

  8. Thanks for the range of pics...and I really enjoyed the thought of being out in the woods hearing that Oboe.

  9. Great photos Mum. I'm especially impressed by the Australian, German and Swiss flags on my jumper in the photo of me at the piano.

  10. A family that appreciates music. A gem.

  11. lovely memories, love your grand son at the piano, i used to do the same at my mother's parents house.

  12. Lucky your daughter switched to the oboe - I can't imagine you taking the piano out on holiday to practice on!

  13. That was a fun post!!
    I especially enjoyed the video.
    Just how tall is Glenn.
    Everyone around him look like dwarves...


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