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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Go Tell Aunt Rhody

Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a good start.

Making New Year’s resolutions can feel daunting, intense. Merely trying something new takes the pressure off. As we were putting together the feature story for this first issue of 2023, “Learn Something New,” my thoughts went to former Vanderburgh County Prosecutor and now Special Prosecutor Stan Levco. Stan has been in the news recently as he will join the team of newly elected Prosecutor Diana Moers. More than a few years ago, in the March/April 2006 issue of this magazine, Stan shared his story of learning something new. The prior spring, he had driven his eldest daughter, Jessica, to Chicago, Illinois, to interview for an internship. During their visit, they attended a play about the life of George Gershwin. On the drive back to Evansville, the father told his daughter he had once seriously considered hiring a piano teacher to teach him to play Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Jessica reminded her dad that he did not know how to play the piano. Stan had a theory, though, one he would carry out: “If I could learn the first note,” he wrote in his essay, “then I could learn the second, then the third. There are a finite number of notes in the piece. Eventually, I could learn the whole thing.”

And that’s what Stan did. He sought lessons, and beginning in May 2005, he learned the eight pages, 40 stanzas, 1,000- note version of “Rhapsody” his instructor had selected. On New Year’s Day 2006, donning in a blue sequined blazer borrowed from a friend, Stan played the entire piece note by note in the Victory Theatre before an audience of friends and family.

Turns out I was inspired by Stan’s feat and about the same time, I decided to learn to play the violin, essentially the Suzuki Method. I was referred to an esteemed player and instructor, Kitty Savia, who, in addition to possessing her own talents, was the maestro’s wife who also played in the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. For nearly two years, I created awful sounds in her living room and while practicing at home, where my family secretly recorded me for kicks.

My debut came at a local church where the Suzuki students were accompanied by the highly accomplished organist Mark X. Hatfield. I performed my piece, “Go Tell Aunt Rhody,” in front of parents of the students and my grade school-age son, Maxwell, who no doubt wanted to crawl under the seat. I believe the concert concluded my violin instruction.

I asked a few office mates if they were planning to learn something new this year.

From Jodi Keen, managing editor: “I’m going to learn to play bridge. I have several friends who play, and it feels like a classically Evansville experience to learn a card game. Maybe Clabber is next!”

From Laura Mathis, creative director: “I have been thinking about learning to make art out of vintage jewelry, but I was so inspired by Phyllis Bussing’s story, I am now inspired to try painting!” (See page 44.)

My husband Todd says he will learn the proper methods to weight train this year. While athletic — Todd has completed five Ironman competitions — heart surgery last year zapped his strength. He already has committed to Ironman Florida in November, and to get there, he is learning to weight train, an effort already underway with coaching by our younger son, Jackson, who he says has no place for excuses.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor

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