Memories of the Munson School of Music
by Gina Lie
The few memories I have of Munson School of Music are from approx. 1935 and not very clear, but it's always strange to notice the things that stick in your mind. I recall dashing up Ovington Ave and running up some steps to a very old fashioned front porch and into this huge house where I was always greeted by the sound of musical instruments coming from all different directions. There was a big door on the left hand side leading into what looked like a living room where there was always a number of people in activity. Occasionally I could see a very dignified man, who seemed to be treated with utmost respect, in very much the same manner as the Principal at Public School 102. This man was known as Professor Munson, and could sense the feeling of reverence whenever he appeared. Sad to say that aside from a feeling of awe, I always looked upon him as a very old man, but then at my age at that time, anyone over the age of 20 would have been dated. It would have been interesting for me today to know his age in 1935. [ed note: he was 57]
Outside this doorway was a flight of stairs taking me to the room at the back of the house, where a lovely lady, who's name I can't remember, had the dubious pleasure of trying to teach one lazy girl to play the piano. I would have given my eye-teeth at that time to be able to impress an audience the way the movie stars did in Hollywood films - even my own family, as far as that's concerned, but sadly it was only my doting mother who ever showed any great appreciation of my talent or lack of such.
We had the usual recitals at the end of each year with our families, teachers and the Professsor present. One of these recitals was held in a building close to the Munson School. There was a large auditorium with a stage which was enough to make me break out in a panic.
One day of entering the big house I came face to face with the Professor himself, and after exchanging a few words, he asked me who my favorite composer was. Being the daughter of Norwegian immigrants who became more and more patriotic the further they got away from their place of birth, it was easy for me to answer such a question, and I threw out the name "Grieg" - where upon he smiled slightly and said: "You are not being partial, are you?"
As I said, it's strange the things you remember. I might also add that I never realized that any of the Professor's family lived in part of the house (ed note: they no longer did at this time), nor did I ever wonder if he had any family at all. I enjoyed the pictures of the school, and it would be fun so see what the family looked like.
This is all I can remember about that wonderful time of my life. I wish I could say it was the beginning of a fabulous career as a famous pianist, but unfortunately this was not to be. However, I manged to take my beautiful piano with me to Norway, where my children learned to play a lot better than their mother, and is now tempting one Grandchild to start learning.
I send all the family and friends of the Munson School of Music my very best wishes.
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