NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The SFA Music Preparatory Division is celebrating its 40th year. The program’s success can be attributed to its founder, Shirley Watterston.
With a bit of arm twisting, the SFA Music Prep founder and former director tickled the ivories to show her support for music education.
“I can remember the beginning so vividly. And it’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years.”
From the beginning, the goal remains ‘teach children music’.
Teacher Linda Parr encourages a student.
“Just a bit faster. Bump, bump, bump,” counting out the beat.
Time signatures are easier to count than all the music prep students over the last four decades.
“Can’t even count them,” laughed Watterston.
Into the thousands for sure. And more students will learn at the future Shirley Watterston Piano Lab.
“That will be my legacy, you know, it is really a wonderful thing. I’m very proud.”
The celebration will pick up with an outdoor music festival on May 1 at the Music Prep House on Raguet Street. Students and staff will perform for the public.
”Students haven’t had a chance to play for a live audience, said director Alba Madrid. We have been recording and posting them on Facebook and it is just not the same. A live audience is so important.”
An impromptu live performance reminded Shirley Watterston performers and listeners need each other.
“The people who have participated either by being involved in music as a performer, as a student, in an audience, and I hope they will be the ones that say, you know, it (music) adds beauty to our lives.”
At the piano Watterston finishes off with a deep bass note on the far end of the keyboard.
“That’s all folks,” she said while turning to her audience with a big laugh.