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Title: Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
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hollynivy
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Rank:Silver

Posts: 81

(Date Posted:05/13/2011 08:40)

I check my hometown newspaper online once a week, which includes the obituaries.  I've remarked a few times on The Yule Log boards about the music my High School Chorus teacher, Mr. Umla, had us perform. Today I read of Mr. Umla's passing.  His long career teaching high school music was noted.  

Joining The Yule Log, and reading all the great material posted by Chip, and questions/answers/suggestions by other posters, I realized awhile ago that Mr. Umla's prototype was Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians.  We wore long gowns etc. for the Spring Concert. We had the flowing stage curtains, and the open grand piano...it was of course a smaller version, but even so, it goes to show how much dedication and performance faith he had for us.
I give Mr. Umla so much credit for never giving up us.

What is clear to me is how those Christmas pieces we performed touched my heart.  We sang The Burt Carols "Some Children See Him" acapella, every year.  Senior year, he had us perform "Twas the Night Before Christmas" about 54 pages of music. That was one piece out of many we sang that Christmas. 
This past Fall, cleaning out old photographs, I came across pictures of our Small Group/Traveling Chorus, with Mr. Umla conducting us while simultaneously playing the piano. Always made us laugh, "How does he do that without falling off the piano bench?"

You can have all the "Glee" and "Musicality" you want...I'll take good ol'  High School Chorus. Thanks to The Yule Log, the memories, and songs in my heart are rekindled every year. 

Thanks Yule Loggers for allowing me to share this misty eyed moment.

Yours in The Yule Log,
Diane


 
usertype:3
Christmas Music Guru
1# 



Rank:Honorary Member

Status: Lawrence F. Arcuri Owner/Webmaster of TheYuleLog.com
Posts:3493

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:05/13/2011 21:00)


Sorry to hear about the passing of your music teacher. And yes, from what you said, it certainly does sound like he took his inspiration from the great Fred Waring. This is precisely why Mr. Waring was known as "The Man Who Taught America How To Sing" and "America's Singing Master."

I posted this previously on the message board before, but here's a classic picture of Mr. Waring and The Pennsylvanians that epitomizes that very image which you described in your post about the long gowns, flowing stage curtains and open grand piano. The Pennsylvanians were the very embodiment of class, style and elegance as can be seen in this classic picture of the group which was taken at the Roxy Theater in New York City during their golden years:



                                                          Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians




(Message edited by Christmas Music Guru On 05/13/2011 21:28)
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--------------------------------------------------------------
Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri
Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com

Christmas Always
2# 



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Posts:1110

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:05/14/2011 09:26)

Diane,

I am so so sorry to hear of your music teacher passing away.  Just reading your post I got teary-eyed as if he was someone I knew.  His appreciation of the music, how he instilled that into his students.

I was in the Chorus in the 8th grade myself and when I went to High School I continued, but for reasons I can't get in to, I had to drop out of school altogether and never fulfilled my dream of performing in our High School Christmas Recital.

But too, as you.  I would rather have a good ol' High School Chorus over "Glee" or "Musicality"

As I am typing this, it takes me back to Kindergarten  or 1st Grade and we had a music teacher who would bring an Autoharp and strum it and we would sing-a-long with her.  They were simple songs, but still something I dearly cherish.  As we continued to progress, into 2nd and 3rd Grade, she would start writing the notes on the black board and not only was she teaching us the songs but also teaching us basically how to read music.  But then we moved and changed schools, there weren't any music classes until we moved again and in the 8th Grade as I already mentioned I was in the chorus.

My condolences go out to you, but I also want to thank you for helping me to remember an important part of my life when I was singing in Grammar School and High School.

Sincerely,

Susan

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Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life
Susan

hollynivy
3# 



Rank:Silver

Posts:81

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:05/14/2011 18:40)

Chip and Christmas Always (Susan),

What a great group The Yule Loggers are...Thank You for your kind words and sharing your stories.

Chip, that's the picture. I think Mr. Umla borrowed Mr. Waring's suit from that picture. The hair is even the same LOL!  I recalled today that he taught us/me
"Amazing Grace".  It's a piece sung all the time, but Mr. Umla taught us how beautiful and strong a piece it is. The more I think about it, I realize that we sang a lot of faith based music, and we were a public high school.  I would venture to guess that doesn't happen a lot anymore.

Right now, I am listening to "Lullay, My Liking (I Saw A Maiden)" from The Joy of Christmas/Leonard Bernstein cd.  Mr. Umla had us perform it. I remember how he drilled us to accent, and pronounce the words with the same richness and beauty as this famous recorded piece. Another thing, he never played a recording for us. Never.  We learned the piece from his direction, and the upright piano.  I can remember my friend Rich singing the male solo in this song. We did Latin pieces..."A Chorus Line" another 40 plus page book of music we memorized (never did we take music on stage)... Thank you Chip for re-posting the picture. And yes Chip, Mr. Umla taught our little part of PA "How to sing/America Sing". 

Susan, Thank you for sharing your story. Your memories are beautiful, and important. Your Kindergarten Teacher opened your heart and ears to music, and you've never forgotten it. I hope you find a chorus/Sweet Adelines/local chamber group that you can become part of and sing. 

The Yule Log and it's new life here on the internet have helped me heal so many fissures of my past with those sweet few hours of the Log, quieting down worries and fears, and allowing us to be together in music, and peace.

Yours in The Yule Log
Diane
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Christmas Music Guru
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Rank:Honorary Member

Status: Lawrence F. Arcuri Owner/Webmaster of TheYuleLog.com
Posts:3493

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:05/15/2011 00:08)


Sounds like that's another area where he was greatly influenced by Fred Waring; because much of the Pennsylvanian's music was based on faith, family and country.



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--------------------------------------------------------------
Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri
Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com

Christmas Always
5# 



Rank:Diamond

Posts:1110

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:05/15/2011 07:24)

Diane,

You're welcome,  sadly I am not able to pursue finding a Local Chorus/Chorale due to health issues.  So to fill that void in my life I have been collecting vinyl records probably  as long as Chip has, but I'm sure Chip's collection is much larger than mine.

Chip is much more knowledgeable too.  Initially I was just interested in getting as many records as possible, and I didn't know that there we're re-issues and so on and with Chips help, I have found that a lot of mine were indeed re-issues/re-releases and I have been able to find the original releases with Chip letting me know certain things to look for as being a collector, having the original release is more important than a re-issue.

As you've seen by perusing TheYuleLog.com, that there hasn't been many questions that Chip hasn't been able to answer and usually his answers go into great detail and I find that very helpful, especially when trying to catalog every Christmas album I have into a Database on my computer and any extra information about the album, the better.

It is a lengthy process as I have to type everything into the database, and I'm not even close to having all my Christmas albums cataloged  yet.  I wish I did because if I happen to be at a thrift store I often see an album but can't remember if I have it in my collection or not and 9 our of 10 time is I don't buy it, it ends up that I didn't have it.  But the same can be said for if I do buy it, I already had it.

Once I get my Christmas Albums all done, then I have several hundred other genre to add to it along with 45's and 8-tracks and cassettes.  So I have my work cut out for me lol.

I do listen to Christmas music every day and certain albums I will listen to a few times a month.  And the music I listen to if from the best era there ever was for Christmas Music and other Genre too, but something happened after about 1972 and the music changed and it is like the artist's don't put the energy or their heart into the music like the Great Masters did.

The Yule Log broadcast captures all that Christmas Music and even the 4th hour that Chip added too.  I'm sure Mr. Fred Thrower would be pleased with the additional music.

Every time I see The Yule Log broadcast, as soon as the music starts, it brings tears of joy to my eyes.  Even when I play Percy Faith's "Music of Christmas" album, the first song is "Joy To The World" and it brings tears of joy to my eyes and though I am actually listening to the album, I automatically expect the next song to be "A Musical Christmas Card" by Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians.

I can't explain it but music is a very important part of my life and without it, I might not be alive today.  Please understand that I'm not trying to get attention or anything, wanting anyone to feel sorry for me.  It's just that my Faith, and the music, especially Christmas Music, has gotten me through some very difficult times in my life.

Also by listening to Christmas music every day, I am keeping the Spirit of Christmas alive in my heart 365 days a year and by talking about it with other people here and in all the groups I belong to. I am helping to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive there too.

And over the years I have gained a much greater appreciation of music.  Though I prefer Christmas Music, I also love Classical, Opera, Big Band, Classic Country, Solid Gold Oldies, Broadway Musicals, Old Time Radio.  I'm not really into the music that is out there today.  There are a lot of artists that you can't understand what they are singing because they are screaming or it is gibberish.
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--------------------------------------------------------------
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life
Susan

davidmusicmaker
6# 



Rank:Bronze

Posts:3

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:10/13/2011 09:08)

Hi, everyone.

I just stumbled across this forum and found this very touching post about Diane's music teacher, Mr. Umla. He had an obviously huge impact on her, especially considering the amount of details she remembers. Based on the references in her post, I'm assuming it was probably the 1970s when she had him as a teacher. I've had teachers myself who have impacted my life, but as a musician myself, it's typically been the music teachers and professors I remember best and most fondly. It was very heartwarming and touching to read the comments and memories of Mr. Umla. You see, I knew him well. Even 5 months after his death, thoughts of him still bring a smile to my face. Hearing about other's memories of him, how he impacted their lives, touches my heart and soul. It makes me beam with pride...because I'm his youngest son. Thanks, Diane, for sharing your memories of my dad. It means the world to me to know what a difference he's made and still makes in your life. Cherish those times. I'm sure he's looking down on you and smiling.

David Umla

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Christmas Music Guru
7# 



Rank:Honorary Member

Status: Lawrence F. Arcuri Owner/Webmaster of TheYuleLog.com
Posts:3493

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:10/13/2011 15:28)


Welcome to the board, David.

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Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri
Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com

hollynivy
8# 



Rank:Silver

Posts:81

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:11/05/2011 22:29)

David Umla???!

This is so crazy!  How did you find this post? 

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
I know your dad is in heaven, playing away on that upright piano and conducting small group chorus. 

Your reply is so touching.  Your dad made such an impact on my life, and I know so many others. I will never forget him. Chorus was the glue that kept me focused. I graduated in the early 1980's, to help you with the timeline.

Wow. The power of "The Yule Log".  Never underestimate it! 

(David, are you also in the music business?) 

So glad you posted! 
Keep in touch.
Diane/Holly N Ivy












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davidmusicmaker
9# 



Rank:Bronze

Posts:3

RE:Passing of my High School Chorus Teacher
(Date Posted:11/18/2011 16:13)

Thanks, Diane.

It's as if I was meant to find this post about my dad. Hearing about the effect he had on a student means so much, and he would be thrilled to know that he had such a powerful effect on you. I seem to remember the teachers that I loved the most. They always hold a special place in my heart. However, who knows if they really knew the impact they made?

I heard so many stories around the time of my dad's death. People reminisced with him in the days leading up to his death, and more stories were shared afterward. I was touched by what so many people remembered and how much Dad influenced their lives. Knowing my dad as I did, I shouldn't be surprised. He was one of the kindest, most loving, caring, and talented people I've ever known. What a role model to have!

As for me, I went to college as a music education major (following in Dad's footsteps). After graduation, I eventually went into a different field. However, music has always been--and will always be--at the core of who I am. I sing bass in numerous choirs as a professional section leader and play trumpet. I've also done some composing, with one piece published so far. (Check out "Sleep Well,  Thou Child of God" at http://www.paracletepress.com/sleep-well-thou-child-of-god.html.) I'm so happy Dad lived long enough to see that milestone reached. He was a big supporter of everything his children did, especially when it came to music.

Obviously, the loss of my dad has been tough on the family. And that first year is the toughest, I'm told, as you experience those firsts without him (first Fathers Day, first annual family vacation, first family reunion, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, etc.). Our family has always been very close, and we've been able to lean on each other. It's amazing the inner strength you can find when you really need it. But it's ok to let the emotions come out. Someone's always there with a supportive hug. The power the love of friends and family brings cannot be underestimated.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about my dad with the members of this group. He's looking down from Heaven at the good that he's instilled in so many of his students. And he's playing that piano and huge pipe organ in the sky, conducting from the keyboard, and singing at the same time. I can't imagine him doing anything less.

Rest in peace, Dad.

David
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