I taught music in all six grades and had a mixed chorus of forty students from the fourth, fifth, and six grades. They sang in four part harmony and were very popular all over the area. Among the programs we gave was the concert referred to earlier, the one at Durham, Oklahoma, where we honored my very dear friends, the Haights.
The Story of My Life - Page 10
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)
The years that the students could not afford musical instruments, I had the ones who could, to buy Hohner harmonicas at twenty five cents each., and we organized a harmonica band which played in harmony. (I, of course, had to learn how to play one myself). We practiced at recess, outside, near the building, out of the wind, and got good enough that we could give programs. We made xylophones out of drinking glasses, filled with water to the correct pitch, and ranging for one octave and one half. We played them in harmony and jiggled the mallets for vibrato, sometimes using two sticks in each hand. When students could afford to buy band instruments, I organized and taught a beginning band. I rented band instruments, took lessons from the High School band director, stayed a few pages ahead of the students, and taught them in groups to play their instruments. We had a good band and gave a pretty good concert in the spring.
The years that we had no one to coach speech for Interscholastic Declamation Contest, I taught both boys and girls and we won many contests. One year both Horace Mann's boy and girl won first place in Region. Their names were Geraldine Smith and Aubrey Green. Also, one year no one would coach girl's soft ball team, so I took them on. We won against our own Junior High. The reason being--we had an exceptionally good pitcher.
For several years I directed the choir of the Pampa First Baptist Church. I also directed the Federated Women's Club Triple Trio for four consecutive years and we won the competition every year. We got to keep the award Loving Cup, which is still on display in the Women's Federated Club House in Pampa. I sang in the Music Club Chorus and was active in the University Club. I was chosen to membership in the prestigious Honorary Teachers' Fraternity, Delta Kappa Gamma.
While I was teaching in Pampa, I took extension courses in the winter and went to summer school at West Texas State College double majoring in Music and Education Administration. I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in 1935. One summer the Music Department presented the oratorio, "Hymn of Praise" by Felix Mendelssohn and Miss Ada Clark, Professor of Music at the College, and I were chosen to sing the soprano solo parts.
During the deep depression, Black Duster Days, while I was a summer student at West Texas State, a mixed quartet of us students, from the Methodist Church Choir, went every Sunday night to sing for the Civilian Conservation Crop. (C.C.C.). The government created this Corp. to give work to men, many of them College graduates, who could not find jobs. These men built the first road down into the Palo Dura Canyon. They lived in camps near the Canyon site. Our quartet sang for them and they asked me to lead them in group singing. They were, for the most part, home sick young me who sang their hearts out because they were so lonely for their loved one. Always they chose to sing first, the popular songs of the day, then went on to the old favorites, but always they ended with favorite hymns which included "In the Garden", and "The Old Rugged Cross". Always we closed by holding hands in a friendship circle and singing, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again". They honored me by selecting me to be their "Queen".
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