Monday, September 19, 2011

On music and trains, masters and tears

Music lesson by Izabella Pavlushko

In the Key of Dr. C

I could not then, still cannot, read
the music that lives in my soul -
but Dr. C knew that ears
note and remember strains
without straining - and thus he
taught Music Appreciation at the
hilltop university overlooking a
river-divided city, allowing us to
flow freely from his directing.
We divided into eye-folk and
ear-folk when the time came
to be tested.

Eye-folk read and wrote notes;
ear-folk listened to translate
Dr. C's piano test, knowing strains
after training - and thus I
watched him play then pause,
catching his glance, and thought:
There could not be a more
dedicated man; he is my favorite
teacher, this is my favorite class.
My score of 'A' was proof more of
his excellence than of my own
to be tested.

I did then, still do now, mourn
the music that died in his soul -
that translated into despair in the
heart of that river-divided city at
its track-divided center, where
a vibrant but seedy line of casinos
and pawn shops played on
lust, greed, and loss.
In that din of neon and noise came
an approaching train's suite refrain,
the last music Dr. C heard.
He understood the notes, was ready
to be tested.

This poem is for the prompt about TRAINS at dVerse Poetics, a beautifully written — and beautifully sung — prompt by Claudia. Her performing The City of New Orleans turned on a bittersweet memory of mine that combines music and trains......

A little about Dr. John Carrico below (extracted from the bio of his brother, Bill Carrico). It saddens me that this was all I could find while searching for information about him. His son, also named John, is an immigration attorney in Las Vegas; an online photo looks so much like I remember Dr. C when he was my Music Appreciation professor.
Dr. John Carrico (1918-1978) directed university bands in Texas and Nevada until his death. He was an internationally known jazz movement authority who founded the Reno International Jazz Festival. In 1975, while attending the Nancy Jazz Festival in France, John became the first American ever elected to the board of directors for the 26-nation International Jazz Federation.

The Reno Jazz Festival founded by Dr. Carrico will celebrate its 50th year in 2012. Its 2011 website is here.
First held in 1962, the Reno Jazz Festival has built up a well-earned reputation as one of the best musical events anywhere. Growing in size and stature over the years, the Reno Jazz Festival ranks as one of the largest and most vibrant of its kind in the U.S., attracting more than 10,000 participants and guests every year. Hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno, the festival welcomes some of the best jazz students, musicians and music teachers in the US to perform at this popular festival, drawing hundreds of school bands (junior high through college) from California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. A number of concerts, shows and workshops take place during the festival and the event closes on the final day with the weekend's finale: the Festival Showcase and Awards Ceremony. [Source: Reno Jazz Festival Facts]



Rob-bear said...

What a beautiful tribute, Lydia. Obviously someone who made a "grade A" impression on you.
And I took time to listen to Claudia. "The City of New Orleans" is a sad, strong song that I've known (and sung) for years. In an era when train travel is withering (at least here in Canada), it's nice to know that some things survive. Even if CN owns it.

Fireblossom said...

Loving music is like loving poetry...those who do, have outsized, fabulously colored souls. This is scientific fact. Or, if it isn't, I am positing it now.

ds said...

Beautiful, Lydia. You caught the music of that man's soul. Thank you for sharing him.

Claudia said...

this is incredible writing lydia - i was spellbound and so sad as the last tune died..

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

yes indeed - a great tribute. Can i also mention the piece of art "music lesson" - for once i really get that and can see jazz there in the art

a good teacher is one who inspires, perhaps more than they actually teach

Lydia said...

Rob-bear~ Thanks, Bear, for your comments and for going over to listen to Claudia. I think her rendition is special and very loving. Those of us who love trains feel the same sadness at their decline.

Fireblossom~ Outsized, fabulously colored souls...Your new scientific fact is glorious. It describes Dr. C (and you, I might add).

ds~ Your comment brought tears. It was my pleasure to share him, and is someone I have wanted to write about for a long time. I would love to plan for my husband and me to head up to Reno next year for that 50th Reno Jazz Festival. He took our class to one of the afternoon productions and I can still see him just behind the side stage curtain, in his own sort of movement euphoria in response to the music being played.

Claudia~ I owe you such a thank you for the prompt with your wonderful video (you have a beautiful voice and the most loving smile), because it got me to finally write about Dr. C. He deserved so much more of a poem than this one but it was cathartic for me...and possibly in some cosmic way he knows how much I admired him now. Many, many thanks to you.

Pixies~ Oh, thank you for mentioning the art work. It took me so long to find the right image to represent Dr. C. When I saw this one I had an !Aha! moment and you did too so that is great.
Love your quote!

susan said...

It's a wonderful poem and a lovely tribute.

Lydia said...

susan~ I was thinking of you strongly today. Thank you for your kind comment.



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