Aloise ’50

SOME MUSICAL MEMORIES OF MCMASTER UNIVERSITY

A Freshman at McMaster in the year 1946-1947, I was one of a group of female students who were fortunate to live in the President’s House, which, I believe, is now occupied by the Alumni Association.  Four of us occupied bunk beds in what may have been the Master Suite, as we had a private bathroom and large walk-in closet.

One night in December we were all abed and dreaming our dreams when we were awakened softly by a choir of angels singing Christmas carols.  The “angels” were in fact Senior students who had the privilege every year of touring the Freshmen residences at midnight singing carols.  They were standing on the stairs so they could be heard throughout the house.

I don’t remember the occasion when I became one of the singers.  The songs were no doubt sweeter when heard from a warm bed than when sung on a cold night.

 —

The following year I lived in Wallingford Hall. It was probably in this year, 1947-48, that Oscar Peterson was invited to play at one of our dances, held from time to time during the year by one group or another.

Some of my fellow students and I, who were not going to the dance, got wind that Peterson was going to be “warming up” at the piano in our Common Room.  We didn’t presume to go and sit beside him, but we assembled in a nearby room where one of our mates was confined to bed.  From our nearly ringside seats we silently enjoyed his playing.  This was early in his piano playing career but it was becoming obvious that he was on his way to fame.

I was not a knowledgeable music listener, but during those years of great jazz and pop music I soaked it all up, to be enjoyed all through my life.

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