[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.]