Let me tell you about someone who made an impact. In 1986, I started middle school. My mom made me signup for orchestra. I wanted to take art class! She had previously made me take piano lessons and I sucked. I literally sucked through a few years of lessons. I could not read music. I chose the viola. I don’t know why. Probably cause I didn’t want to be there and it wasn’t the violin. I didn’t know anything much about the violin either. The class turned out not to be so bad. The teacher was an OLD lady who was nice. She had wrinkles and she was beautiful. She would walk around the room and tune our instruments before we started playing. I can NOT fathom how bad that awful racket must have sounded, but we were in a soundproof room so everyone else was spared. We started by plucking our instruments. I had a severely broken arm from an old school summer and even started playing with a cast beyond my elbow. As time went by, the jumbled up stuff on the page started to come together. We were making music.
In 7th grade, I decided I was enjoying it and I needed to improve. I asked my orchestra teacher who could teach me private viola lessons. I started taking lessons with another awesome teacher and improved beyond my imagination. Each year, we moved up with the same teacher. It was a small town. She drove to the high school for half of her day to also teach there. Soo she was also my high school teacher. My sophomore year, I left for study abroad. Upon return, it was back to orchestra. We took state that year. That means we had an awesome performance at a statewide competition. We didn’t let down our little town where we didn’t have the best of anything, but we had the best arts programs. That same year in 1992, we took an orchestra trip to Disneyland. We had a master class with a pro musician aka the rare paid unicorn. We couldn’t wait to ditch the playing for the rides. Our teacher was there by our sides for the fun too. I don’t know how she kept up with us, but she did. After the school days were over, I probably only saw her once. She was a bit stooped over but looked the same. She was still as beautiful as ever and had a smile and a hug for her former student. The effects of her teaching reach far and wide. I doubt much of what fast money that people aspire to achieve these days will leave the impact she did and what some good teachers do. RIP JUNE THORLEY 1928-2019