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Shipman's music teachers: Roy Showalter

Roy Showalter led the Highland Junior High School band when I was there in the school years 60-61 through 62-63. Highland was the newest and best-funded of the three junior high schools in town and we were very proud of it.

Mr. Showalter did what any teacher should do in this position: stress the fundamentals, drill, drill, and drill some more, and field a presentable marching band for halftime shows at the football games.

I was not fond of marching, being rather clumsy, and the music we played was unbearably square. But concert season, in the spring after marching season was over, was a lot more fun.

Mr. Showalter's patience and even-handedness with our unruly lot of hormone-crazed young teens seems saintlike to me now. I think I'd rather spend three years wrestling live, rabid wolverines than teach junior high school; it would probably be safer and less stressful.

Although there were several better players that always sat above me in the section, there were two smaller subset bands that I enjoyed much more than the full band. We had a Stage Band that played primarily musical theater and show tunes. We performed occasionally at pancake breakfasts and such. I enjoyed the material in this group a lot more than the regular band material.

Mr. Showalter also ran a jazz band, which was probably much closer to his personal tastes in music. By some strange fluke I landed first chair trumpet in this little group. Apparently I had a better feel for jazz rhythms than the other trumpet players, or maybe they weren't as interested in this material. We did a variety of jazz styles, mainly Dixieland but also some swing material. This was the most fun I had with music in these years.

Working with this man ensured my continuing in music, because he did what all the best music teachers do for young people: get them past the mechanics and into making music. It isn't an easy job when the student hasn't mastered much of the mechanics.

Last I heard, Roy was retired from teaching but still working to repair musical instruments at Music Villa in Hobbs. I had a chance to chat with him around 1999. A great man and a great influence on countless young musicians.


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John W. Shipman, john@nmt.edu
Last updated: 2004/01/11 22:29:49
URL: http://www.nmt.edu/~shipman/music/showalter.html