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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Apr 1, 2016

There was never a time when I wasn’t listening to music.

Growing up, my sisters and I had a record player we would use to play those yellow plastic records made for children. We might have played the grooves out of our favorites.

Predictably, we moved to 45 rpm records with a large hole in the middle during our teenage years.

Since then, it has been LP albums, cassette tapes, compact discs, and now MP3 files. What could be next? I haven’t any idea.

Along the way when it wasn’t recorded music, it was the radio. First, AM on a little speaker, the FM with two large speakers if possible.

Now we carry our music in our pocket and listen using tiny round objects we put in our ears or maybe to music originating anywhere in the world using our computers.

But there was another part of music we did. We learned to play an instrument and be part of a band.

My instrument was the trombone I played from about age 12 to graduation from high school. I was not a great musician because I didn’t work that hard at it. I just wanted to be with my friends.

However, in the years since, I have gained a large appreciation to be able to look at a page of music, usually in a church hymnal, and then decipher those different looking circles usually attached to a vertical line located on several horizontal lines and understand what they mean.

If I had known then what that training in reading music would mean to me for the rest of my life, I would have taken it a lot more seriously those many years ago.

I believe I owe two or three music instructors an apology for my lackadaisical attitude and a thank you for tolerating my less than serious attitude.

I have not played in any kind of a band since high school and my trombone was sold to a young girl who was just starting music lessons back in 1971.

I am not a great sight reader of music and it helps immeasurably if I can recognize the melody.

But if the tune is familiar, I fill my lungs with air because singing without breath support is like running your tractor with a plugged air filter and then I let it go.

I have learned people like to follow a strong singer because it gives them confidence to sing out and then we all sound good.

Now let me go back to telling you about my favorite music memory from my early days.

It is the sound of my dad singing as he did his chores. He had about three favorite songs he sang and usually he would just sing a couple lines from those songs as he was shoveling corn, carrying a bushel basket, or doing field work.

I don’t have any recording of his singing in any form from record to tape or MP3. I don’t need them.

I can hear his voice anytime just by thinking about him, especially when I remember hearing his voice as he sat in the pew behind me at church.

And he’s been gone 17 years.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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