The Pug Under the Piano Bench
My wonderful, first voice teacher, Nancy Burman, loves animals. Every animal they have ever owned, whether cat, dog, or hamster, has enjoyed an entertaining atmospher e, copious amounts of love from Nancy's numerous voice students and their own family. The Burmans' animals live the good life!
When I was in high school the Burmans had a pug named Betsy. Betsy was one of the happiest little dogs I've ever seen. She'd wave her little tail and greet you at the door every week. She loved to sit under the piano bench during lessons and was a very well-behaved dog.
Betsy also snorted.
Betsy left a legacy of s(n)orts on every lesson recording we made. Because when you're serious about voice, even in high school, you listen to the recording of your lesson to help you practice during the week. Nancy recorded our lessons and song accompaniments for us and we would practice with them to get ready for a competition or a recital.
Betsy was on all of them.
Picture this: a great voice lesson with loads of progress, and you're learning a wonderful art song like Joseph Haydn's "In the Country." You sing a bit, then the piano is by itself for a couple of measures, you sing a bit, and then the piano concludes the verse.
It's a song that creates a feeling of being out in the country on a sunny day, out in nature with trees and fields, fresh breezes and loads of sunshine...
Away from care and sorrow,
I gladly greet the morrow,
When I throughout the night,
Have slept till morning light.
With freedom in my heart,
When morn dispels the night,
And sorrows all depart,
My heart is ever light.
(English translation by Frank La Forge, Copyright 1938)