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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia Family

Chopin Mom Used to Play – Waltz in C sharp minor Op.64 – 2

No.3 in a series of Chopin pieces our Mother Mary would play in our lounge in Harrismith back in the Sixties. Our childhood was filled with sublime music emanating from down the passage. I have invited sundry pianists to play them here as I have very few recordings on Mom’s classical playing! Thank you, guest artists and youtube!

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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia Family

Chopin Mom Used to Play – Minute Waltz

No.2 in a series – Mother Mary would play the Bentley upright piano in our lounge. My childhood was filled with sublime music emanating from down the passage.

SO: I have invited some lesser pianists to play in her stead. Thanks to them and to youtube!

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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia Family

Chopin Mom Used to Play – Grande Valse Brillante Op.18

Mother Mary would play the Bentley upright piano in our lounge. My childhood was filled with sublime music emanating from down the passage. My memory bank is filled with wonderful sounds that bring back mostly happy memories! At 91 she now plays her popular pieces from memory. Her classical pieces she would read the music – she can’t see well enough to do that anymore. Sister Sheila has recorded many of her popular songs, but we have few of her classics. A great pity. SO: I have invited some lesser (! I am slightly biased) pianists to play in her stead. Thanks to them and to youtube we can hear the music again!

Here’s No.1 – enjoy!

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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia Family

The Mass Choir Amasses

A large gathering of the Goor Koor – that assembly of happy inebriates led and accompanied by virtual-teetotaller Mary Methodist, our Mom, gathered together – assembled, amassed – on the occasion of Mom’s 45th birthday. Usually there were far fewer of them gathered at any one time, an occasional Lubricated Quartet perhaps, but this was a special occasion!

And Sheila – thanks goodness! – took pictures. She was in matric at the time, I was in Oklahoma, Barbara in Pietermaritzburg.

– Joyce Joubert; Marie Roux peeping out; Isobel Kemp; Stella Fyvie; Mary the birthday girl, wearing specs, grog in hand; Mary Wessels; Martie Dreyer; Baby Mandy; Annemarie van Wyk –

. . and here – precious picture! – Mary at the keyboard and Hugo Wessels right there, ready to belt out a number! Two very talented people, 45 years old, who were in matric together in 1945. And this fun gathering happened 45 years ago, as Mom is now 90! I think all my stats are right . . .

– in earlier years my ear would be near the floor right outside that door behind Hugo – listening in fascination –
– Dina de Kock; Hester Schreiber; Koekie de Bruyn; Hugo Wessels; Hannes van Wyk; Jack Kemp; Pierre Roux; Hector Fyvie; Steve Schreiber; Dad; Bennie Dreyer; Joyce Joubert Isobel Kemp; Stella Fyvie: Anna-Marie van Wyk –

Wonderful memories of crawling down the long passage to get nearer to the sound of Mom playing the piano; Also of sundry ‘choir members’ over the years, belting out popular songs with high enthusiasm and various degrees of talent. If spotted by any of the choir it would be ‘Hello Kosie!’ – if spotted by Mom or Dad it would be ‘Get back to bed!’

Also memories of the smell of ash trays! Always plenty of ash trays. Ours were from tyre companies, so they were glass inside miniature Dunlop or Goodyear tyres!

– I couldnt find one overflowing with butts and ash! –

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Goor Koor – Dire Choir

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

– 45yrs later here’s Mary, still beautifully at it –

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Categories
1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia Family

Two Grand Pianos

My Mom Mary Bland learnt to play the piano on her Granny Mary Bland’s upright Otto Bach at 13 Stuart Street. Mom’s sister Pat didn’t play, but when Granny Bland died the piano had to go to the older granddaughter. But how to get it there?

Jack Shannon had a bakkie and he volunteered to schlep it to Blyvooruitzicht, or as the Cowies called it, ‘Blayfore’. It got dropped at some stage in the loading or offloading and had to be repaired when it got there. All was well.

Years later Pat died and Bill decided it should go to Barbara as she played, and his daughters Frankie and Gemma did not. So another farmer with a bakkie was roped in to schlep it back from Blayfore – this time Barbara’s long-suffering husband Jeff Tarr carted it to PMB or Howick or Greytown (must ask Barbara). Barbara still has the piano in her home on their farm Umvoti Villa on the Mispah road outside Greytown. It’s now her daughter Linda’s home and Linda does play – hockey, jolling, all else – just not the piano. Maybe her daughter Mary-Kate will keep up the tradition of ‘Marys that play that piano’?

– the Otto Bach – now at Umvoti Villa –

Meantime Mom had bought another: an upright Bentley. Marie Bain had bought her daughter, Mom’s cousin, Lynn the Bentley hoping she’d learn to play ‘like Mary.’ Well, Lynn never took to playing, so Mom bought it from Marie for the same £100 she had paid for it years before. This was the piano we were so privileged to grow up with at 95 Stuart Street, listening to Mom playing Hymns, Classical and Popular music. Who could forget the late night drinking songs when the Goor Koor gang would gather round her and bellow out their alcohol fumes, cigarette ash and varying levels of talent with gay abandon.

Mom still has the Bentley in PMB and still plays it beautifully. They’re upright pianos, not ‘grand’ pianos, but they certainly have been a grand part of our lives from about 1920-something – Mary was born in 1928 – to 2019. And more to come.

Here Mary at 90 plays someone else’s piano. Her classical pieces she always played with the music score in front of her. She can no longer see well enough to read it, so mainly plays her popular pieces by memory now.

We grew up to these sounds in the background. How lucky can you get!? These next few classical pieces are ones she played. Played here by some wonderful pianists who are almost as good as Mom in her prime!

also this:

I remember a few times getting so overcome by the music – melancholy or something? – I’d run down the passage and ask Mom to stop playing! weird.

~~~oo0oo~~~