Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 31, 2014

Let’s Explore

By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun

— The February Explore is out, and if you’ve not gotten yours already, come by the Daily Sun office and pick one up.

February is Black History Month, and it just so happens that Explore caught up with the board of the G.W. Jackson Multicultural Society recently. We learned after the magazine went to print that the Gospel Extravaganza at the IOOF Event Center at 6:30 to benefit this non-profit has been changed from Jan. 25 to Feb. 22. In unforseen circumstances, two board members (or their mates) landed in the hospital for extended stays, so it just could not be helped.

But, the good Lord always has a plan and I suspect there’s a benefit somewhere in the concert being moved to February.

If you don’t know who G.W. Jackson is, or what he did, or what JESA is, please take a moment and read the story in Explore.

Speaking of making history, there will be a Heritage Rodeo at the Navarro Exposition Center May 17, the first of its kind in Navarro County, to our knowledge, as well.

One of  Explore’s favorite people, Charles Henry Harrison, celebrated a 90th birthday in January, and the photos are in the February Explore also. Charles Henry has lived a servant’s life, giving to others in a variety of ways — through military service, through the monuments he crafted for the deceased, and by bringing Santa to thousands of Navarro County kids through the years.

His three children threw a birthday soiree for him at the Hampton Inn on Jan. 4, and to say it was well-attended would be quite the understatement. I hope I’m that loved at any point in my life.

Another story in February Explore has to do with love: not necessarily romantic love, but love of music. Virginia Martin has expounded on that idea and planned a special Kinsloe House program for Feb. 12. Yours truly plans to be there with bells on.

We were able to sit down and visit with some of the pianists Virginia plans to honor that day. Explore gathered at Heritage Oaks Retirement Village with Carolyn Barnes, Joy Williamson, Mary Gladney, Margie Talkington, Pat Haba, Sheila Herod, Annett Reid, and Vicki Trimble, all of whom have accompanied Virginia at some point on vocals.

As a kid growing up in Corsicana, many of my fellow grade school/middle school students and I took piano lessons. I was even pretty fair at keeping it straight in my head which kids took from Mrs. Mansfield, which ones from Mrs. Barnes, which from Mrs. Zabcik, and so on. We had a slew of piano teachers back then. I personally took from Kathy Sigler (Fr. Sigler of St. John’s Episcopal) and later from the late great Anne Albritton, who I suspect shared my penchant for Oreos because they were always present at her studio. But I digress.

It seems to me that very, very few kids take piano lessons anymore. There will come a point where there may not be anyone to play piano at church, because this generation cares more about select sports than the arts.

Even as plentiful as pianists were in these dear ladies’ days, there were still several of them splitting their time traveling between two churches, trying to serve as accompanists for two church congregations.

The highlight of our time together that day was when Joy Williamson and Carolyn Barnes began banging out songs at the piano, just impromptu. Heaven knows those ladies could probably play just about anything from memory or perhaps by ear.

We hope you’ll take a bit of time to read Explore cover to cover, as we are hard at work on the March issue!

Happy February!!

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Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore magazine. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at dkirk@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com