An open thank you note to the people who taught my kids to sing

In the span of five days, my son and his a ccapella group sang from a rickety river deck in Wisconsin’s North Woods, for surprised patrons of the Washington Inn, to his grandma and our next-door neighbors in the living room of our house, and in University Hospital’s ICU ward.

They sing for the love of music, of people, teamwork, harmony and each other. They sing because someone, somewhere taught them well.

I watched them crowd into my house Sunday afternoon, all sweatshirts and giant shoes, and deliver a sweet concert to three people with the same enthusiasm I’ve seen them muster for a screaming, auditorium-filling, sign-waving crowd. Someone, somewhere taught them to sing with joy.

This past Tuesday, I asked them to perform on very short notice, for Vinnie’s step-grandfather. They dropped their plans, and assembled in the ICU, a bunch of college students with a thousand things to do. Someone, somewhere taught them to that there’s honor in the gift of music.

Consider this an open thank you note to the people who taught these men to sing:

  • To the grade school, middle school and high school music teachers, choral conductors,  band leaders, orchestra directors and piano teachers.
  • To Mrs Christiansen, Franklin School Music educator extraordinaire, who instilled in her hundreds of little charges an appreciation of music’s joy and the courage to perform.
  • To Mr. Rippl, Mr. Heiks and Dr. Meidl, founding directors of the Appleton Boychoir, who taught my sons respect for music and themselves.
  • To Mr. Aamot, gifted choir director and football coach, who inspired his high school singers to achieve a soaring musicality that seemed spiritual at times.
  • To Mrs. Evey Schmidt, who introduced Molly to the pure pleasure of singing in harmony.

Behind every member of my son’s a cappella group stands the person who taught him to sing and the infinite joy that gift offers us all.

Aca cookies
Should an a cappella group stop by your house, keep cookies and herbal tea on hand.
Country Roads 1
The group crowded into our living room and enthusiastically sang for a crowd of three, my mom and our next-door neighbors, Doug and Janet.
Country Roads 2
They dance a little, too.
Country Roads 3
Someone taught each one of these guys the joy of singing.
Country Roads 4
I had the wrong lens on to get the whole group, but you get the picture.
Country Roads hit the road
Here they are in the kitchen, getting ready to hit the road.
Vinnie and Grandma
A little love for Grandma.

Enjoy a little taste of the house concert:

And here they are singing just for fun on the Oconto River bank:

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