o'clock in the morning was early for young people, teenagers, in one way.
In another way it wasn't early at all for them to be found lining up in
front of their choir teacher's upright piano.
They filed into the room singly, in two and
three's and sometimes larger groups. They were through with the biggest
part of their morning. The waking early, standing in line for showers,
getting their rooms inspection ready, completing a building cleaning
detail, and getting to breakfast only to stand in line again, all was
done. The same faces, same places, same vocal exercises, and same music
were dutifully a part of their life. There was Booger Red, Sandy, Grimmet,
Charlotte, Heawatha, Ross, Craig, and more, many more students there.
Up the scale, lah-lah-lah-lah and back down
lah-lah-lah or new-new-new-new and back down. Enunciation was not only an
exercise but a necessity as the soft accents of the Native American often
came through in the English language they spoke. The development to bring
the control of perfect diction was a way the children could come into the
mainstream of the American lifestyle.
Maybe the songs of Rogers and Hammerstein
were fun but, they became a tool in the hands of their gifted teacher. If
regularity and determination were the answers to learning there was
certainly everything in the instructors will on that order. Every morning,
every occasion, on campus and off they sang their songs. Some of the songs
they sang so often, really they probably could have performed without any
thought or searching for words. There were small dinners, banquets, church
on Sunday, school assemblies, invitations to off campus club meetings,
Colleges, and other high school assemblies.
The double octet sang, Lolly Too Dum so
often it was almost a part of their vocabulary. The students who were not
shy and were willing to do a solo certainly were given the opportunity. To
memorize a song, a gospel, or a part of the octet one only had to perform
over and over until the stage was as easy as brushing their teeth or
combing their hair.
"Sit Down Servant" the soprano
would sing out, "I can't sit down." There came the reply from
"Sit Down Servant" the soprano
cautioned. "My soul is so happy, that I can't sit down." The
tenors would answer. The rhythm and happy sound of the spiritual pushed
them to get into the music.
There is always a quartet but, the double
quartet was a more effective way of getting a performance across. If one
of the girls of alto, second soprano, or soprano was shy and shaky the
other one who was stronger would give her the support she needed and
together they would get their part across.
All the girls of the double quartet had the
joy on their face to come with youth and good health. However, there was
one who stood out above the rest. This was Heawatha. She was tall and
always stood on the second row because of this. Her dark shining long
softly curled hair was always a soft flowing frame around her face. The
fairness of her skin along with the dark hair stood out as well. There was
something else about her though. It couldn't be described really. Was it
just the calm pleasant way she had about her personality? Maybe it was her
willingness to always stop a moment. She would take time to hear out a
request, or listen to a problem. Whatever it was it won her the place as
the Chilocco school princess along with the selection of princess and
Her full white buckskin dress only accented
the dark hair and fair clear skin. Because of her way, gentle and quiet,
with only a matter of fact friendliness there was never any jealousy of
the vote she received. The students, boys and girls, all were proud to
have her in the front, since there was no question as to her depth of
spirit and attractiveness. Memories fade before us as we grow mature and
removed from the times of our youth. Still, the mind can and will always
remember the delicate touch this girl, Heawatha, contributed simply by
just being what she was, beautiful. This whether she was performing while
they sang their songs, or for the other activities in which she took part.