Music in my life has been like breathing.
I grew up in a second-generation Czech family, the Grisaks. Everyone in my family played a musical instrument sang and learned to whistle tunes. I grew up thinking the whole world loved music.
Favorite childhood memories were hearing daddy playing Celtic, gypsy and bluegrass music on his violin. The beautiful music echoed up and down the vast New Mexico ranch canyons and mountains.
Once a month our five-family clan gathered for a “big baile,” an all night family dance. There was food all you could eat and it was dance ’till you drop!
Saturday afternoons beginning at age 4, I listened to Radio Opera. Then I sang “Opera” to an audience of cousins, dolls, a goat and Tom Cat. An old sheet draped around the “singer” enhanced drama. Harriett Fisher who had played for Billy Graham Crusades, was my first professional piano teacher. Her love for music, firm melodic touch, creative chord progressions and runs fascinated and inspired me to study music seriously.
I graduated from Roswell High School and enrolled at ENMU. Dr. Robert Page and Glynn Page, his wife and music instructor inspired me to major in vocal music. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in music and education and a Master of Arts in psychology and special education at ENMU.
I have taken the Robert Page’s inspiration and taught music, sang in many U.S. symphonies and touring choirs and in Germany; Liberia, West Africa, singing for the vice president of Liberia in his dialect; Cypress; Israel; Mexico; and Maui and Oahu in Hawaii with Larnelle Harris T.B.N. Production.
Wayne Anderson is an icon in my family. All three of my children sang in his Clovis High School choirs. Thank you Mr. Anderson for your energetic inspiration, especially for me in the High Plains Chorale Productions for many years.
Ferrell Roberts taught my mother organ lessons and inspired her to write music which was published and recorded by Rainbow Records, Hollywood Ca., on an album entitled “Hallelujah.”
My life is enriched at St. James Anglican Church in Clovis when Bryan Uerling lifts many of us to ethereal heights with his organ Pasludes! He imparts a musical highlight experience to the listeners. His vast knowledge of the history of music and composers enhances his boundless interpretations of any century.
As long as there is music, I shall never be richer and never poor!
Anna Skaggs is a church and community choir member.