Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Memories—Music


Mrs. Kinsfather was my second grade teacher. She wore bright lipstick, boldly painted fingernails and high-heeled shoes. She sat at her desk a lot, filing her nails. She was also the music teacher for the whole school. When it was our class’ turn for “music,” we filed upstairs into the auditorium and sat on those wooden benches that you see in the photo. While Mrs. Kinsfather played the piano we read the words from a large flip chart and sang our little hearts out. Nobody goofed off for that would end music. The song I remember best was “The Ballad of the Green Berets” which we sang with great soberness, as if we were singing to save the Viet Nam vets:

Ballad of the Green Beret
by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler and Robin Moore, copyright 1966

Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Trained to live off nature's land
Trained in combat, hand-to-hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage peak from the Green Berets

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her his last request

Put silver wings on my son's chest
Make him one of America's best
He'll be a man they'll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret.

This song made my throat burn then and it still makes me sigh. I’m certain I was no better a singer then than I am now, but what I didn’t have in quality I had in fervor.

Do you sing with more fervor than talent?
Would your kids’ school allow this song to be sung today?


Tiffany Fackrell said...

i definiteley lack in the singing talent department. I was actually BANNED from my ward choir in college. The bishop announced it over the pulpit that the Byington girls were not allowed in!!! We had a kareoke machine in our apt. we had a lot of fun with it, but I am surprised all the windows stayed in tack those two years we lived there!!! (the bishop stopped by one night during a kareoke night...that was when our choir days ended)! I do however miss that machine!

deidra said...

So which one is NJP?

I loved elementary school music. A bunch of the Dworshak Elementary friends can't let Halloween pass without remembering Mrs. Peterson and her love for the holiday.

I'm a "choir only" singer. As long as there is a choir to blend into (and hopefully a good soprano to listen to), I'm an alright singer. Other than at church, I'm not much of a singer at all-- I leave that up to Chris.

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

I'm definitely fervor over talent. Every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I figure, though, that God is well-aware of the voice he gave me, and loves to hear it anyway. My kids aren't so convinced.

Mindy said...

Oh deary, Yes, I sing with way too much fervor than talent, my kids will attest to that!!

That is a very touching song. I can't imagine the schools letting the children sing it though. I'm sure they would think it was "too" graphic or something along those lines. However, I think it is real and beautiful.

Cali said...


You are so darn cute in that picture. You, in the back row with all the tall boys. I sure love you. The song I remember best in music at school (they were still using those same benches by the way) was "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in rounds. It was SO BEAUTIFUL sung in rounds.



Samantha said...

My 4th grade class sang "I'm proud to be an American" for the school talent show and we were all so serious. I loved that song. I definitely sing with more fervor than talent. Owen actually turns to me sometimes when I start to sing, put his hand up, and begs "No!!! No sing!!" haha Rude.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. The very song that my brother and I would blast at the top of our lungs! As always, your memories spur mine. Another top favorite was "Secret Agent Man". Emily thought for the longest time that he was singing "Secret Asian Man" and when I listen, it sure sounds that way to me, too.

As always, thanks for the trip down memory lane. By the way, my singing teacher was young and had beautiful long, blond hair and played the guitar. She let us play different instruments while we sang folk ballads and patriotic marches---she was probably a hippie and I thought she was magical.


Rachel said...

Mrs. Kinsfather was still around when I went to school. Except she taught first grade, and she liked her back rubbed. You were lucky if she chose you for the hour to stand behind her chair and rub her back. She'd give you a piece of candy (chick-o stick was my favorite) if you lasted the entire time. Ew, and what pray tell was I supposed to learn in that hour each day? In sixth grade we had to learn "I got Spurs, that Jingle, Jangle, Jingle" and "Deep in the Heart of Texas". I thought for awhile he was going with a 'Western' type theme until he threw in "Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night". Looking back, I'm thinking they were all a little zoned. Scary.

Ande Payne said...

I agree with Cali, Mom. You look so darn cute in that picture.

michelle said...

I recognized you immediately! So darn cute.

I have to say, that song seems a bit graphic for young kids... they probably would not be singing that in our elementary school. Love your Monday memories, as usual.

Jill said...

I am ALL fervor when I sing!

It makes me sad that my kids don't have an official music teacher at their school. They're musical education is largely based on whether their actual teacher is musically inclined.

My 2nd grade music teacher had a wooden leg and took it off to show us!