My mother had recently passed
away and she had seen to it that I received her piano.
This piano was a gift from my father to her for her 34th
birthday upon our return from living in France in 1955.
Barely a year later, I would find myself sitting in front of
this keyboard with a man who would move in and out of my
thoughts over the coming 50 years.
Newly retired from the postal
service in 2005, I was beginning a new career. I decided
that I should resume my musical teaching. I had
my mother's piano moved to my new home and I found myself
sitting at its bench and drifting back to become that 10 year
old boy who had begun taking music lessons those many years
before. As I sat and reminisced, I found it interesting
how I had exchanged my position of student for that of
teacher. Who would have ever thought?
My mental visions were like
retrieving old home movies that had been stored in the
basement. You never pulled them out but always knew that
they were somewhere down "there" waiting to be viewed someday
when you remembered to special order that discontinued bulb
for the projector that had somehow become obsolete.
Projecting those images onto the mind's "silver screen", I saw
my parents greeting a man that was not big in physical stature
but who commanded every bit of attention that one could
muster. In his hand, he carried a small brown case.
The case was placed on the bench of the piano and with two
metallic clicks a most beautiful and shiny instrument was
revealed. It was my Olds Ambassador trumpet.
The movie continued to play and
revealed my sitting at this same piano. Next to me and
teaching me how to extract a sound from my instrument was that
same man who had visited our home on that Saturday in
September of 1956. It showed scenes of sitting in that
dusty smelling band room that I believe was in the lower
section of the old Westminster grade school located at Lowell
and 72nd Avenue. Again, this man was there molding us
into a team that he could present, in concert, to our proud
parents. Future years would bring other
directors but none that would stand the test of time in my
Time pressed on: high school
band, a contract with Columbia records, Vietnam, 5th Army
special services tours, BA Music Education, teaching school,
postal career and finally retirement.
I had been recruited to teach
school again at Creighton Middle School. A gentleman by
the name of Ron Owens showed up one day and we became friends.
Ron had volunteered to assist me in teaching the grade school
children in his specialty: clarinet. I count myself as
fortunate to have received his assistance. I surely
would have lost a few promising clarinetists had he not
offered his help!
During a conversation between
Ron and me, something was mentioned about Adams County.
Adams County, School District 50, was where I began my musical
interest and ultimately my career in music.
I asked, "Did you ever know a
man named Rosenberger?"
Ron replied, "Do you mean
I said, "I'm not sure. I
can't imagine that there would be two people with that same
last name in the same district. I only know that Owen
Harris and I lived in fear of him. He wasn't the kind to
take any "guff" from the likes of us!"
"That's him," Ron said, "and
he's living in Boulder!"
I thought that I would fall
over from a heart attack. There could be no way that
this man could still be with us after the passing of 50 years.
As I remembered him, he was not a man at the beginning of his
career when he started our 4th grade group in music. Ron gave me
his phone number and I called him and made an appointment to
visit with him and his new bride (He married again at the age of 95!). He said: "I'll be
happy to receive you." I could hardly wait!
My wife and I drove to Boulder
on a Sunday in December 2005 and spent about an hour of
wonderful time speaking with him and his wife ( She had been a concert Violinist). I brought
along my Olds Ambassador trumpet and played a little piece for him. He was
very clear of mind and we carried on a stimulating
conversation. I can only say that I am very blessed to
have had the opportunity to visit with the man who started me
off and had visited with me in spirit over those many years.
Driving home I said to my wife, Monique: "I hope that I might
be like him!"
"Mr." Rosenberger left us a few months later. Still, I think of him often. I was priviledged to be invited to attend his memorial. One of his family prepared a video that will take you through snapshots of his life. Click on Virgil's video to view a great tribute to a wonderful man.
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