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The Story of My Life - Page 14
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)

In 1949, from North Texas State University at Denton, I received my Master of Music Education Degree with a Voice concentration, and a minor in Secondary School Administration.

After teaching in Borger High School for seven years, I accepted the position as the first Head of the Music Department of Frank Phillips College which I held for fourteen years, 1949-1963. I taught Music Theory and Harmony, Music Education, Voice, Vocal Ensemble, and College Choir, and when needed, I taught College English, Education, and Psychology.

The College Music Department and the College Drama Department produced together, Children's Theater, each year for three years. We gave adaptations of the opera HANSEL AND GRETEL, by Engelbert Humperdink, ROBIN HOOD, by Reginald DeKoven, and the musical, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, a Walt Disney production. Two evening performances and three matinees were given each year, in the High School-College Auditorium. The matinee performances were sponsored by the ASSOCIATION FOR CHILDHOOD EDUCATION OF BORGER, TEXAS, and all the Elementary School Children from the entire vacinity were bussed in for the performances.

One day after the children had seen HANSEL AND GRETEL ( with the moving presentation in blue lights, of the angels on the ladder, descending from "heaven", singing "When at night I go to sleep, fourteen angels watch do keep") and the angels were on their way after the presentation, back to their classes, a little boy in the hall was heard saying , with an astonished look of complete disappointment, "Look, they're just girls".

During the presentation of SNOW WHILE, one little child in the front row, jumped up, pointed his finger and yelled in alarm, "Don't eat that apple, Snow White! It's poisoned!"

The Music and Drama Departments also produced together, the Folk Opera, DOWN IN THE VALLEY, by Kurt Weil, which depicts life in early America, with folk songs and dances. We gave the Music Drama, THE NATIVITY, the Christmas story from the Bible, told in Scripture and Christmas Carols. The last year I was at Frank Phillips College, we produced together, an adaptation of the drama, PYGMALION, by Bernard Shaw with music from the Broadway Musical, MY FAIR LADY, by Lehner and Lowe.

Every year at Christmas, the Frank Phillips College Choir and I, invited outstanding singers from the Tri-City Community to sing with us, THE MESSIAH, by George Frederick Handel.

We presented, all over the Panhandle of Texas, four of the best Cantatas in Choral Literature: SONG OF EASTER, by Roy Ringwald, 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, by Roy Ringwald, GOD'S TROMBONES, by Roy Ringwald, and BALLAD FOR AMERICANS, by Earl Robinson.

SONG OF EASTER, based on fourteen Negro Spirituals, is the story of the death and Resurrection of our Lord, with narration from the Bible. 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS , is an arrangement of the poem, A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS, by Clement C. Moore. BALLAD FOR AMERICANS, is a patriotic cantata which dramatically portrays high spots in our National History: The Revolutionary War, the Growth of the Union, the Civil War, and the Machine Age. It interprets so vividly, so truly, the character, the philosophy of the American people, and the human pattern for universal happiness and freedom. GOD'S TROMBONES, is based on Negro spirituals, and the poem by James Weldon Johnson. It is a Negro Folk Sermon which depicts the Negro preacher of Pre-Revolutionary times, who was a vivid minister of God's Word, as he Understood it.

The Frank Phillips College Choir and the mixed octet, the Plainsmen, were guest performers at NATIONAL, STATE, AND REGIONAL Conferences, Conventions, and Festivals. These included : NATIONAL Music Educators Bi-Annual Conference, TEXAS Junior College Administrators Association Conference, NEW MEXICO State Teachers Convention, TEXAS Federation of Women's Clubs, PANHANDLE Press Association Convention, SOUTHWESTERN Public Service DISTRICT Convention, GULF OIL COMPANY Safety Awards Banquet, and AMARILLO TV STATION K F D A , National Education Week Program.

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