Sunday, July 20, 2008

Music History Class

I was just sharing a funny story with a friend who mentioned in her blog that she was getting a new organ. It was a really good deal, since the organ's stops were broken. Well, that threw me right back to my music history class at Mount St. Mary's college back in the sixties. Yes, I said the  sixties. 

I'm not sure how they decided who was going to teach what at that school. I'm not saying the nun was tone deaf of anything, but she wasn't exactly a music aficionado. In her defense, most of the students in the classroom were only filling seats anyway. I was one of the few who really wanted to know the subject matter. To me it was more than just a convenient elective. 

I actually read the textbook cover to cover. I think that stunned Sister whatever her name was. I came away from that class with an A, and two really great stories. Let's start with the organ. Yes, you knew I had to return to my friend's blog about buying an organ, didn't you?

One day in class, with a perfectly straight face, the nun was lecturing and while most of the students slept or looked out of the windows at the beautiful campus, I took notes. I'll admit I wasn't this diligent in every class. At one point she said, and this is very close to a direct quote, "Johann Sebastian Bach's organ had no stops. He and his second wife had thirteen children."

I was the only one who laughed. She glared at me.

The second time I had a good laugh in that room, even though I had to laugh all by myself, was while the the good nun was grading essays or something at the front of the room. We had all been given a chapter or section to read in the text book, and she kept herself busy while we were doing that. When I came to what I was positive was a typographical error, I thought it was so funny, I burst out laughing. The class, suddenly coming awake, all stared at me. The teacher again looked at me in consternation.

What was so funny, she wanted to know. I explained that I had just found "the" misprint. She informed me that she had been using that text book for two semesters, and that if there were any misprints or typographical errors in the text, she would certainly have spotted them before now. She then requested that I stand up and read to the class what I considered to be in error.

I wish I had a camera with me that day to capture the nun's red face when I stood at my desk and read what that text said about Bach in the next paragraph:

"Because Bach did not have an organ in his home, he practiced on a spinster in his attic." She told me to sit down. I understand those texts were replaced at the end of that term.


sherrie said...

You have some of the BEST stories! No wonder you're having such a great time writing a book!


schmath said...

I didn't realize it was a nun! That's even funnier!