Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Musical Genes in My Family

Carnival of Genealogy, http://www.creativegene.blogspot.com/

What traits run in your family? Which of them did you inherit?===========================

Music is a trait on both sides of my family. I always wished that I could sing and play the piano, however I cannot do either as well as I would desire. If I could sing, I would want to be able to sing like Yolanda Adams , Patti LaBelle, or Whitney Houston. If I could play the piano, I would want to be able to play popular gospel music by ear.

Even though I can’t sing or play the piano, I still have a musical gene. I played the Viola, a sting instrument that is a little bigger than a violin, when I was in school. I began playing during the 6th grade and stopped some time during college. I was very good at playing this instrument and was often first chair player in my school orchestra. I also participated in city-wide and regional orchestras where I won certificates and medals for my participation. In fact, I still have some of these medals. I have an instrument, but have not had a consistent interest in playing the Viola since I became an adult. Perhaps I can blame the current lack of my musical interest on my genealogy hobby which takes up most of my free time. (Smile)

Maternal Family Musical Traits
On my maternal side, I know of the following family members who had musical abilities.

  • Uncle Ray Thornton (1926-2002), a brother of my maternal grandfather, who played the piano and sang in church. Uncle Ray grew up in Enfield, NC and moved to Newport News, VA as an adult.

  • Uncle John Bullock (1885-1957) and his wife Lucinda (1901-1971) reportedly sang as a duet at various churches in the Vance County, NC area. Uncle John was a brother of my great-grandmother Bell Bullock Johnson (1890-1982), and a son of my great-great grandparents Andrew Bullock (1862-1915) and Luvenia Jeffress “Holy Venia” Bullock (1864-1951.)

  • Uncle Richard Johnson (1932-1992), a brother of my maternal grandmother used to sing gospel music with a group of young men during his youth. He grew up in Ridgeway, NC in Warren County and moved to Newark, NJ during his adult years.

Paternal Family Musical TraitsMy father’s family is from Greensville County, VA and I know of musical talent in the family of his mother, Hattie Moore Pair (1902-1956). I do not know if Grandma Hattie could sing, but I do know that some of her brothers could sing. Her youngest brother, Samuel “Channie” Moore (1917-2003) could sing and play the piano. In his youth, he and his brothers John Marshall Moore (1915-1993) and James Jefferson Moore (1913-1976) sang in a group with another neighborhood boy. The group was called “The Liberty Four.” Liberty was the name of their neighborhood in Greensville County, VA. Uncle Channie believed that the family’s musical talent came from their mother. He recalled that his mother, Mary Eliza Robinson Moore (1880-1920) could sing very well and that her family, the Robinsons of the Skippers area of Greensville County, VA were known as “great singers.”

Today, some descendants of the Moore and Robinson families can sing and play musical instruments. I have heard and observed the musical talents of these families at church services and family reunions.

In my own family branch, the musical gene is continuing in our family through my nieces and nephews who range in ages from 17 to 27. Several of them sing, play drums and/or keyboards. One of them is talented in playing the bass guitar. One of my proud moments as an Aunt was hearing two of my nephews sing solos at my mother’s funeral in August 2007. Prior to this time, I did not know that they could sing that well. Another proud “Auntie” moment was when two of my nephews, along with one of my first cousins, provided instrumental music at our family reunion last year. One nephew played the keyboard, another played the drums, and my cousin played bass guitar. They sounded fantastic and I made sure that prior to giving my remarks on family history, that I let everyone at the reunion know that the two young musicians were my nephews.


Janice said...

Now I know why my family did not get any musical genes. They all went to your house (grin).


Bill West said...

I wish I could play an instrument of any sort!

Great posts, Dru, and welcome to the CoG!

Lori Thornton said...

Thanks for the comments on the Thornton family and music. It's nice to know that music runs in other Thornton lines.