Music won’t vanish, Revonda Mosser assured me.
Still, it’s hard to picture the G. W. Carver and West Salem Elementary School auditoriums without the soon-to-retire music teacher.
She’s been keeping students in tune and on time for 39 years. In addition to classroom instruction, that’s many a rehearsal before all those delightful PTA performances.
The second-graders’ annual “Egyptian Show” is a particular charmer. It’s fun to see the risers fill with “Indiana Jones” explorers, well-wrapped mummies, and elegant dancing-girls admiring proud young pharaohs (and their own finery and makeup. Huge kudos to parents and teachers who help work costume magic!)
Watching all the kids’ reciting, singing and gesturing such classics as comedian Steve Martin’s “King Tut” number, you can appreciate Ms. Mosser’s careful directing — and think of all the things that could go wrong, but don’t.
She fondly remembers such performances — and especially the plays produced in bygone years when more time was given to music. Years ago teachers
Dianna Beamer, Robin Erickson, Kelly Coudriet, Cathy Ashby, Della Smith and Mickey Faville collaborated with her to direct elaborate musicals.
“Annie, Peter Pan, [The] Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, [The] Wizard of Oz, Snow White and other musicals….” she recalled via email. “The staging, costumes, scripts and music were amazing! Hundreds of students performed….”
She’s delighted when an adult comes forward to say that those shows were what he or she most enjoyed in elementary school. (We overheard such comments after WSE’s boffo Egyptian Show.) After all, as the poet said, “music hath charms….”
But 39 years IS a long time. After graduating from Madison College (before it was JMU), she taught in Harrisonburg. When husband Lennie took a Roanoke City teaching job, she taught at William Byrd Intermediate. A 1980 elementary opening brought her to Back Creek, West Salem and Conehurst. Salem’s own system’s 1983 opening sent Conehurst’s students to GW Carver; she was hired to teach at Carver as well as WSE. (Lennie also went on to teach and coach for Roanoke County, then Salem City schools.)
“That was 30 years ago! Incredible!” she wrote. “It has been a blessing to teach music in Salem for so long. I have worked with wonderful teachers, staff and administrators, and the best and brightest students any teacher could hope for!”
But now she looks forward to sharing her talents on a smaller scale: With her eight-year-old granddaughter in W. Va., and with her two-year-old grandson in Maryland. They “love to dance and sing with Nana.”
There also will be more time to spend with her parents, mother-in-law and other family. She also hopes to do more gardening, reading and traveling with now-retired Lennie.
You earned a rest, Ms. Mosser. Brava!