Saturday, December 6, 2008

When we lived in Jackson, every year about this time, the students of Mrs. Beatrice Baker Thorpe would be invited to the Westwood Mall to play for the shoppers. It was a big treat and people came from all over to see the kids, bring the kids, shop and hang out. Generally, it was on a Friday evening.

The photos above have Nina and Annie, top, and Annie, bottom in the front row. The older children got on stage first and played the harder music, then stepped back. Then younger children would get on stage, play some less hard music, then step back. And so it went until the youngest took the stage and played the Twinkles. It was always the last song, from Motorcycle, to Just Plain Beautiful Twinkle.

Nina must have been one of the youngest when she was on stage, because it seems very crowded and Annie is behind her. Lauren is not there, so it must have been before she mastered all of the Twinkles. You had to be able to play the Twinkles, all of them, at tempo before Mrs. Thorpe would invite you to play in the group.
The fellow at the piano had been her student years before. At this time, his daughter was among the children on the stage. He accompanied all of the recitals and concerts. Mrs. Thorpe sat in the front row and watched. You were all trained to listen to the piano and start on cue. It was amazing though. I have seen many concerts and Suzuki groups play with far less success than Mrs. Thorpe's students. She was very precise and demanding, but she loved the kids.