Friday, June 22, 2012

"The Man with the Musical Touch"

[This delightful short article is the result of an interview with my dad, Vance Dobson, conducted by Orofino Junior High School students and published in the Spring 1987 edition of Clearwater Reflections, a Firefox Publication.]

“The Man with the Musical Touch”
By Jennifer Davisson, Amie Crouch, Michelle Beard

Vance Dobson, born April 29,1904, in Gilbert, Idaho, is one of our community’s more active citizens. He enjoys gardening, playing the piano, fishing, and spending time outdoors.

His parents traveled from Iowa along the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon, around 1895. Their main occupation was farming. [Actually, that’s not quite right. His mother traveled from Iowa along the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon, arriving in Lakeview, Oregon, in 1882. His father came a few years later, riding the rails from Iowa to Oregon. They married in 1891 and took a homestead in the Gilbert Country in 1895, where they were mainly farmers.]

Mr. Dobson attended high school in Orofino for three years. During this time he participated in track and football. One of the popular hangouts at that time was the ice cream parlor, where you could find many teenagers.

He later attended a music school in Seattle and decided to become a music teacher. At the age of forty-three he married Dorothy Dobson who still shares his musical life.

A real piano fanatic, Mr. Dobson began toying around with the piano at the early age of six. In 1928 eighteen years later, he began teaching.

During his high school years he played background music for the silent movies shown at our local theater.

“It was an easy dollar-fifty-a-day project,” he commented about this weekend job.

Mr. Dobson presently teaches seventeen students, a small amount in comparison to the fifty students he once taught. He includes both classical and popular music to keep his students satisfied. He also taught his younger sister and daughter how to play.

“It is difficult to teach people in your own family,” he reminisced.

Mr. Dobson plans to continue teaching the music of Beethoven, Mozart, Shubert, Bach, and other favorites to Orofino students as long as he is capable.

[My dad enjoyed participating in this project. I’m glad he didn’t miss out. He passed away in November 1987.]


Leah said...

What a nice tribute to your dad. You know how news reports are.
Writers often take creative license. The part about Vance's parents both travelling on the Oregon trail was a romantic idea to people born in the 1970's. The writer probably heard "covered wagon" & their mind stopped working right there.

Speaking of covered wagons...The Santa Fe, California & Oregon trails all began in Independence, Missouri (where I was born). There is a festival held every year in Indep. on Labor Day Weekend called "SantaCaliGon." When I was little, in the 1940's, we dressed up in period costumes & men grew long beards.

Kathy, so good to hear that your wonderful father lived to see this article in print. Loved the comment he made about being hard to teach people in your own family.

Chris said...

I enjoyed reading this and loved the pictures. The younger one must have been his graduation photo?

Dad was interviewed, too, and I have the books. I need to get them out and see who else is in them!

Kathy said...

Historically speaking, I think it's too bad that those interviewed weren't provided copy to proof. But on the other hand, some might be tempted to re-write the work of these young people.

My dad didn't enjoy looking back. I can think of many successful things he could have mentioned. He won an elocution contest in the 8th grade. I still have the certificate he was granted when he graduated from the 8th grade. And he was editor of the annual his senior year.

Chris, among the others interviewed in this edition were Ruth Ross (Orofino's long-time telephone operator), Cliff Anderson, Emery Noble, and Eldon Snyder. And yes, that was Daddy's graduation photo.

Is this project ongoing? What year was your dad interviewed?

Leah, I loved hearing about "SantaCaliGon."

Chris said...

Dad was interviewed for the Spring '88 issue. There are actually two different interviews of him in it. Others interviewed included Mel Snook, Jake Altmiller, and Ruby Philpot. I need to sit down and do a thorough read.

I don't think they do this any more, but I could be wrong.

Kathy said...

I confess that I haven't read the other articles in depth. The interview with Ruth Ross is longer and focuses on telephone history -- rightly so. This was a timely project to put young people becoming technologically savvy in touch with elders who grew up when life was very different. I remember Mike and Daddy discussing the technological advances that had occurred in Daddy's lifetime -- an era when they farmed with horses, rural areas weren't electrified, etc.

That said, look how far the computer age has come in the 25 years since the late '80s. Amazing!