About two months ago, I finally felt ready to go through some of mom's things. I decided that I would start in the basement where, as many of you know, she taught piano lessons. I took lessons when I was younger. A year or so from one of her piano teacher friends, and a while from her. (That debacle lasted about two weeks I think!) So often I am asked if I know how to play, and I have to say that I don't. Mom always said I would appreciate knowing how to play the piano when I got older. And guess what - she was right. I do wish I knew how to play now so that I could carry on the beautiful music she made and taught to so many.
But I don't, and so what to do with all the 30 years of music, games, books, etc. that filled the basement? One of mom's very good friends and a fellow piano teacher, Polly, offered to go through the music for me, keep what she would like, and give the rest a good home. So after an afternoon of packing up the basement with the help of Claudia (luckily she's cheap labor and can be paid back with wine!) I dropped off a truck load at Polly's house.
Recently I received the email below from Polly. It brought tears to my eyes, and I felt the need to share it with all of her friends and students.
"Just a note to let you know what I did with your mom’s music. I went through all the music and took the books and items I thought I could use. It was a bittersweet time because I saw many things we had bought together and many of the games and books we had shared over the years. Then I put the rest out so the teachers in our teacher group could come by and see if there was anything they wanted. They had the same feeling I had --- that we were with Cree again and so in addition to trying to take care of her music, we had a time of remembering your mom.
Today Cecil and I took the music that was left down to the Raleigh Community Music School –located on Tucker Street in downtown Raleigh. They currently have 100 students enrolled – these are students who would normally not be able to afford lessons – and 15 teachers. Your mom’s music will provide these students with the books and sheets and some games they need because most could not pay for music. I gave the school your mom’s name and explained that the music was from her studio.
I also found a book of music quotes that she and I bought one year in Savannah when we were on our way to the International Piano Teachers Conference in Orlando. The book had sayings that we both loved. I took that book to Allen Herther who once worked for Burrage and now has his own music store and Cree thought highly of him. He came to her memorial service. I gave it to him on his 50th birthday and told him it had been Cree’s.
I just wanted you to know what happened with her music – that everyone was appreciative not only of the music but that Cree had been a part of their lives. So her music will continue to help young students become musicians."
Mom, your music will live on.