Wednesday, October 24, 2007

 

Remembering my Mother


I would like to remember my dear mother on this day, her birthday. She was a very very special person, as anyone who had known her could testify. No amount of words would be able to convey what she meant to me, so I will be brief, bordering on the prosaic.

If mom were still alive, she would be 83 years old. She left this world on this same month seven years ago, half a year after my father passed away (April, 2000). That dreadful year would not end before I lost two of my closest uncles as well (both of whom were her brothers).

As a tribute, I just want to reproduce a section of her entry in Profiles of Outstanding Virgin Islanders, where she is listed as a Pianist and Music Educator.

[Joyce Creque Mathews] graduated from Charlotte Amalie Highschool, St. Thomas [US Virgin Islands]. Her studies toward a musical career earned for her a Bachelor of Science degree in music (1950) from Polythecnic Institute (now Interamerican University, San German, Puerto Rico), a Master of Arts degree in music from Columbia University, Teacher's College, New York City (1956), and a diploma in piano from the Conservatory of Music, San Juan, Puerto Rico (1965).

Her professional career began in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where she was appointed music teacher (1950 - 1954) at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Highschool. However, from 1954 to 1960, she served as music supervisor for the district of Mayagüez. Regional recognition of her expertise was demonstrated in 1961 when she was chosen as zone supervisor of music for San Juan and in 1964 she was promoted to General Music Supervisor for San Juan... (Profiles of Outstanding Virgin Islanders, Vol. II, researched and written by Ruth Moolenaar, Coordinator, Project Introspection, Dept. of Education, Funded by the Virgin Islands Commission on Youth, 1986)


Three years prior to my graduation from highschool, she reluctantly took the Directorship of the Music Program for the entire island of Puerto Rico, a position she held until retirement. The only anecdote I wish to offer is the following: My mother once told me that she was being groomed to become a concert pianist (Grandfather Cyril Creque, also a pianist and organist of highest rank, had obliged all siblings to learn an instrument - my mother, being the first born, was given particular instruction in this respect). Since the profession demands extraordinary dedication, a life-long commitment and time, she said that she had to decide between pursuing such a career or starting a family. She opted for the latter, for which I am eternally grateful, of course. Sometimes, though, when I hear her playing (links below), I wonder if she made the wrong choice. God Bless Her.

Brahms Rhapsody in G minor

Beethoven First Movement of Moonlight Serenade

Bach We Praise Thee Oh God

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