I guess I've talked about early life and schooling. I don't know if you have any other questions?
Well, I had seen a quote from you, I think about your band leader at Turner. Early influences on your life, obviously your mother and father?
My mother, my father…
And this gentleman.
And Dr. Wyatt Walton now. He was…as I said, he was charismatic, and he loved music, and he loved music education. And he tried to make students do their best, but also it was like a family. And I think I liked that more than anything else. It was great being a part of something that was successful and, of course, I love music anyway, but he was a great influence.
Let's go ahead and talk…you've already talked about Clark and what a wonderful time you had there. Now, you left after you graduated, you had a degree in music education, is that right, from Clark?
Yes. I majored in music education. I minored in secondary education and library science. I had two, a double minor. Because I thought, well, if I get tired of teaching, I can always become a music librarian since I liked the library so much. While I was, I guess in my senior year at Clark, I went to the Camp Leno Loc YWCA camp in Bear Mountain, New York. It was out of Orange, New Jersey, the YWCA, but they had this camp, and I went there as a music counselor, and I guess that was my first experience with a mixed group. Actually, I was the only African-American counselor, but there were a few campers there who were of color, and I enjoyed that immensely. We had Christmas in July, and I did Peter Pan with them. It was just wonderful, and I went back, actually, when I was a senior and did the camp for a second year. But that was my first trip away from Atlanta, except for going to New York where I had a half sister, and I thought, well, you know, this is the way we should live. We should live together. And that, as I look back and reflect on it, probably sort of influenced me when I came here.
Did you teach between the time that you finished at Clark and then went to graduate school?
Yes, I started teaching immediately. I got a job as a fifth grade teacher, but I had band after school. This went on for, I guess, two years and then I was promoted to just music teacher and I loved it. I taught all the general music classes. I taught chorus. I taught band, and that was good, because when I became a music supervisor, I could really identify with teacher problems because I had done both the band, the general music, and the choir. So that was good.
You knew what they were dealing with.
Yes. I went to Interlochen, which is a national music camp in Michigan. They had a university division. That was my second year out of college, and I was trying to see whether I would want to go to the University of Michigan, and I had a chance…there was more music that summer than I had had in my whole life because it was music all day every day, and it was wonderful. I really enjoyed it and that was sort of a pioneering effort too, because there were two of us African-Americans there. But it was a wonderful summer because we sang in the choir, I played in the orchestra, I played clarinet, of course, played in the band and there was drama, there was dance and music, as I said, all the time.