I don’t remember the name of my fourth-grade music teacher (or maybe it was fifth grade).
I don’t remember any of the songs we sang from the official music book. What I remember is Teacher handing out purple ditto machine pages of current pop songs. Boys and girls together, we’d all sing in unison. Looking back, none of the songs were really appropriate for schoolkids.
“Seasons in the Sun?” A dying man saying goodbye. “Rhinestone Cowboy?” A failed singer clinging to dreams. “Beth?” A rock star choosing the band over his girlfriend. Even “Sloop John B” is about a drunken fight, food poisoning, and LSD (“the worst trip I’ve ever been on.”) As a kid, I was just happy to be singing songs I knew from the radio. Complicated harmonies are magical, but there’s also something special about a big pack of children’s voices all singing the melody together in a big room with no acoustics.