I think all of us can recall experiences we’ve had in grade school as children that we remember as if it were yesterday. One of my favorites was the start of my study of instrumental music. I wrote briefly, of that experience in the liner notes of my first CD that I released in 2003. The notes mentioned two persons, one of whom was Mr. Raymond C. Schultz, my first band teacher. Last week, I was contacted by a high school friend whom I renewed a friendship with through facebook recently. Jerry, who is now a music teacher in Kansas, informed me that Mr. Schultz had passed away. Mr. Schultz was everyone’s favorite teacher, partly because band was a class many of us looked forward to starting when we were in the fourth grade. Many of us were influenced by upper classmen that were already playing their instruments, and subsequently, we developed a passion for music. Mr. Schultz seemed to make it easy. I remember him as being very soft spoken and patient. I remember that my Mother spoke with him frequently because he wanted to accelerate my studies from the fourth grade through the seventh grade and she kept tabs on making sure that it was the right thing to do.
I remember on three occasions Mr. Schultz performing at our church. He played a solo each time on his clarinet with a piano accompaniment. One of those times was really a treat. I don’t recall how it developed, but several of us (his students) gathered in my Mother’s basement and rehearsed for a Christmas or Easter event, to be held at our church. At the time of the event, Mr. Schultz was on the program, and he directed the ensemble. It was a coincidence, and an event that I’ll never forget.
Through Jerry, I was able to locate Mr. Schultz after all these years. I sent him a CD baring the liner notes where I briefly described him, and a note of my own. He wrote me back! He said that he remembered me and my little brother Kermit (who played clarinet also). He also said that he remembered my mother and that they talked frequently. I’m happy that I had a chance to communicate with Mr. Schultz. He was just one of those special teachers that you just don’t forget. Thank you Mr. Schultz.