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My father benefited from the excellent Rochester, New York public school music program, which was largely funded by donations from Kodak founder George Eastman. At East High School, my father played trombone in the same high school orchestra with oboist Mitch Miller. My father did not go as far in music as Miller, but did tour nationally with a jazz big band in the early 1930's. He decided that he didn't like the life, or the trombone, and he didn't have a gift for improvisation. He quit, and then worked his way through the University of Rochester in 8 years, taking every second year off to put away enough money to continue his education.

Cello duo with my father, December, 1955
at a service of the Unitarian Fellowship of Delaware County, Pennsylvania

Cello duo with my father, ca. 1956 (22 KB JPEG)

Pennington photo


During the Second World War, my father was declared unfit for combat due to his nearsightedness. He served in the Army stateside, first as an MP and then as a hospital adminstrator. He decided that he would like to take up the cello, and he bought an army-issue Kay plywood cello through the PX. That is the cello he is playing in the photo. The 3/4 size cello I am playing was my first, a rental from the Springfield, Pennsylvania public school music program.

The photo was taken in available light -- quite an accomplishment with 1950's film and a moving subject -- by a Mr. Pennington, a member of our church's congregation who was an avid amateur photographer.

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Contents copyright 1997 by John S. Allen,
except photo -- Pennington

Last modified September 19, 1997