Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Exceptional People in a One-Horse Town, Part II


This is the third in a series of an unknown number of articles highlighting a little piece of Americana. As previously stated, "one must not necessarily live in a major metropolitan center to meet some really exceptional people. There may be a gazillion such people in such a city, but how many do you really get to know well. The people to be featured in a series of blogs are just a few of the exceptional people I have the honor of knowing in my home town".

Last Sunday afternoon I attended the senior organ recital by Clay, an organ student, who is a friend I have known all his life. The recital, or concert which is a better description, was magnificent. Clay played difficult classical compositions from the baroque and the romantic eras, featuring selections by Brahms and Bach. He appeared to play them with ease. He also showed his versitility by playing organ pieces by modern composers, such as Locklear, Professor of Organ at Wake Forest University. In addition, he sang "The Lord's Prayer", while accompanied by himself. He had previoulsy played and recorded the number on the organ, which has this feature so organist can record themselves and then listen to the performance, to check registration, tone, volume, etc.

Two weeks previously I had been in that same church sanctuary to witness Clay being awarded his Eagle Scout Award. For you see, Clay is not a college senior, but rather is just completing high school.

Clay has been studying the organ for only two years, taking lessons from a professor of organ music at nearby U.N.C. Pembroke. The professor had never taken on a high school student and was dubious. She handed him the "Red Book", the difficult, college level introduction to organ, and told him that when, and if, he mastered that, she would consider taking him on as a regular student. Most college organ students take a semester to finish the "Red Book", and some require a full year to do so. Clay had finished that introductory exercise in just two months. His professor said that students like Clay come along very rarely and is the type of student that keeps her wanting to keep on teaching. In her remarks she further stated that some of the compositions that Clay performed were those usually done by college senior or graduate school organ students.

Clay is a very gifted musician/entertainer. He has performed in numerous productions by his high school arts department and Encore Theater, the local little theater group. He regularly entertains at civic club functions and at Scotia Village, the Presbyterian Home facility located here.

But, he is not one dimensional. He is an honor student, having served as a class marshal at last year's high school graduation, chief marshal if I am not mistaken. He is ranked at the top of his class, and it will be interesting to see where he ranks at the upcoming graduation. He was also a member of the cross-country team.

Besides excelling in Boy Scouts, achieving its highest rank, he was also the recipient of the God & Country Award. At the same time he has been a member of and leader of the local 4-H chapter. Twice he has been to the national finals in an oratorical contest.

Following high school graduation Clay will be heading north, I almost choke writing this, to attend Harvard. Well, I guess that is better than staying in N.C. and attending that great Northern Institution of Higher Learning, Duke. At present he plans to study business with a goal of getting his MBA. But, he assured me he will continue his musical endeavors. I'm keeping the invitation to and the program of his senior recital. I am going to have them autographed. They could prove to be valuable some day.

Just proves that you do not have to be old to be an exceptional person in this One-Horse Town.


2 Comments:

Blogger Pookie Pie said...

That's just sensational. One can easily look at the next generation and be dissapointed, but realistically, there is a lot to be hopeful in the younger crowd as well.

May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Emily M (ptwannabe) said...

Impressive...3 Harvard students from Laurinburg in 1 year. Not too shabby. He grew up fast, that Clay. I remember when he was a little one in plaid suits running around the nursury at church. I feel so old.

May 25, 2006  

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