Friday Five: Back to School

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

And, here we are again…back at Friday. This is exactly why I needed a weekly post on my plate, to ensure I at least write something every week. That’s how the black hole of blogging starts, my friends. Skipping a week here and there leads to dusty, untouched blogs clogging the interwebs. I should know…I have two of them. I realize my weeks won’t all be multiple-post packed, but the good news is that it’s about to get more busy. And more busy = more posts. At least, one can hope. Coming up this week? Band Camp! Our First Visitor! Baking! (Because three people eating a cake will always be better than two.)

I want these Friday Fives to be both random and timely. What better subject for today than Back to School? I did, after all, just survive a Wal-Mart trip yesterday afternoon during the school supply running of the bulls. I’d love to do a list of my five worst school photos, because there are some doozies in the mix, but that will require some digging. I’m instead going with teachers. Teachers to which I owe a lot…teachers I’d love to see again. Teachers are about as special as they get. Despite coming from a family full of them (and being married to a great one), I was not blessed with the teaching gene so I appreciate them that much more. Here are the teachers that rocked (and shaped) my world.

5. Cheryl Coll-Gallup: 10th Grade Math/Calculus

I would thank Mrs. Coll for being one tough cookie. Everyone in our class enjoyed and respected her—not an easy feat when teaching high school. The greatest lesson I learned from her was to never just memorize math’s laws/theories/equations. Always know the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of any situation and you’ll never worry about your memory drawing a blank. Seems pretty simple, but it was sound advice that took me well beyond her classroom.

4. Tanda Roden: 8th Grade English

Everyone probably has one of those crazy teachers imprinted in their memory forever. Well, this is mine. Here are some of the highlights I remember from this class: dressing up like Jackie Kennedy with way too much black eye shadow for book reports, making a paper-mached boy behind barbed wire and playing the theme from Schindler’s List on my violin for the entire school while studying the Holocaust, and how she self-admittedly graded our papers while drinking copious amounts of wine resulting in unreadable, slurred suggestions scrawled across the pages. I most remember doing ridiculous drills through the entire SAT word list. I’m 100% sure she’s responsible for 75% of my current vocabulary.

3. Bob Early/Ted Bachmann/Alton Royer: Band

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention those that first put a horn in my hands. Bob, Ted and Alton were incredible influences on me as a person and a budding musician. I know I’m lucky to have had five years of their guidance and about, oh, almost 20 years of their support and friendship. They have sculpted many a life across Oklahoma (and Texas & Louisiana) and I’m so glad I was one of them.

2. Ginger Sadler: 4th Grade

Between two school districts and two degrees, I’ve had a lot of teachers to consider for this list, and none of them had the transformative power of this lady. Somehow she took 20-something kids with not a lot in common and turned us into each other’s best friends. That classroom became a family and we had some of the craziest adventures…like when she built a plane out of plastic in the school library for us to board. She was a godly woman who used her faith to inspire us as she championed creativity, individuality and demanded we reach higher than we ever thought we could. It all left a tremendous mark on me. Her love and support of us knew no bounds and we all felt it and loved her for it, too.

1. Peter Landgren: Horn

And then there is Peter. There will always be Peter. I can’t imagine what my life would look like as a person or as a musician had I not studied with Peter in college. There are a lot of great horn teachers out there, but Peter invested in us wholeheartedly. He cared about my studies, my family and my thoughts as much as what scales, etudes and excerpts I had prepared. I needed that and he knew it. He continues to be an amazing friend and mentor (and now the Dean of CCM!), but I’m thankful for our time in little Studio 407 and how he made me love life, laughter and horn more than I ever dreamed possible.


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