In love with music: My mom’s vocation #atozchallenge2024 #MusicMovesMe

I is In love with music: My mom’s vocation. No. 9 of 26 posts in the April 2024 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge and a Wordless Wednesday post. Theme: My Life: The Prequel (in Snapshots) adding my parents’ stories to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

On family car trips during my childhood, my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau — a school music educator — would distract us five kids by leading us in song.

As Dad drove us to Cape Cod or to visit our grandparents, we held forth in multi-part harmony on songs from “The Sound of Music” as well as holiday carols and folk tunes — unaware of how unusual that was.

Besides teaching school music, Mom was also a girl scout leader and choral director at church. Because music was so much a part of her life, it naturally and seamlessly became part of ours.

Under Mom’s influence, classical records mixed with jazz and Broadway scores on our living room shelf. And I remember our coat closet bursting with sealed oatmeal boxes and coffee cans containing a handful of dry beans for her elementary school rhythm bands.

Peg Laurence at age 12 on the day of her June 10, 1938 piano recital. Photo/lettering: Liz (Stoutner) Laurence/Graphic: Molly Charboneau

Origin of Mom’s musical calling

How did Mom’s interest in music begin, I wondered. So I asked her.

“When I was young, I heard a woman play the piano at a concert,” Mom said. “It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.” Transported by the experience, she fell in love with music there and then — a love that lasted a lifetime.

In her tweens, Mom began studying piano with Minnie Rea, a former Gloversville, N.Y., school teacher who went on to build a career giving private lessons and holding recitals.

Program from Peg Laurence’s June 10, 1938 recital. Listed as Margaret Laurence, Mom played Gavotte in A Minor, Op. 210, No. 9 by Cornelius Gurlitt. Graphic: Molly Charboneau

So meaningful was this experience that Mom carefully saved the programs from her youthful piano recitals, and her mother Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence photographed her prior to one of them — perhaps her first? — as shown above.

One of Mom’s recital songs

Below is a performance of Gavotte in A Minor, Op. 210, No. 9 by Cornelius Gurlitt — one of the songs that Mom preformed at her 1938 recital, as listed in the program above.

As Mom got deeper into music during Junior High and High School, she branched out to chorus (becoming director of the Junior High a cappella choir) and joined the marching band (I think she played clarinet).

However, piano was Mom’s instrument. And eventually it became her major at Potsdam Teacher’s College — where we will catch up with her in the next post.

Up next, J is for Just for Fun: Potsdam Ice Carnival. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit this week’s other Music Moves Me bloggers by clicking on the link below.

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© 2024 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

22 thoughts on “In love with music: My mom’s vocation #atozchallenge2024 #MusicMovesMe”

  1. What a lovely post and remembrance of your mother’s accomplishments and love for music. I vaguely remember beans being used for make-shift maracas in Kindergarten music instruments. I just can’t remember what the beans were housed in, though. Maybe, oatmeal canisters. 😀 Thanks for sharing and for joining the 4M party. Have a boogietastic week!

    1. The bean maracas may have been a tried and true music teacher technique, which I’m sure fit with school budgets. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Happy to see you joining up with Music Moves Me once again. Welcome, and hope to see you linking up again when you are next inspired to. Alana ramblinwitham

  3. Mine wasn’t a musical family i(no music lessons, no instruments in the house) but my Mom had bought, from some supermarket promotion, a series of classical music records. In my teens, I started listening to them. I also sang in my elementary school choir – probably helped that my teacher in 4th and 5th grade headed the choir. But I never have learned to play an instrument. Reading this post makes me wonder again about nature vs. nuture. For some years, our next door neighbors across the street were musical – both the husband and wife were music teachers. They moved away years ago but I wonder if their daughter followed in their footsteps.

    1. No way! I think we had the same set of classical records…they were in dark green covers, and I loved listening to them. Plus I always thought we looked very sophisticated having them lined up on the book shelf.

  4. Having music as a part of your childhood and in your family is a wonderful thing. Not everyone gets that. That’s certainly something to cherish.

  5. I’m so envious of the musical environment you had in your youth.

    My mother had suffered at the hands of the nun who taught piano at the local convent and discouraged me from musical activities. Thankfully she didn’t include ballet.

    1. So sorry to hear that, Jill — but glad you were at least able to dance to the music (which is my connection as well).

  6. I really loved this story. I can imagine you singing to harmony in the car on long trips, how wonderful. I also grew up with a lot of music, lots of baroque and the Messiah especially, and the three of us do love it as adults. What a gift your mom gave you.

  7. Moms are so special. Great memories and a great tribute to your mom.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

  8. Lovely memories of your Mum’s life in music here Molly. I did have a chuckle at the containers of dry beans in your closet. Looking forward to more about your Mum.

    1. Glad you got a laugh from the rhythm band “instruments.” 🙂 I have a feeling music and girl scout budgets were tight even then.

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