Tribute to Mr. Israel
I took music appreciation and piano under him back in the 1970s, when he taught music at Sandhills Community College. Everybody loved him.
As one of his colleagues said at Saturday's memorial service, he never had a critical word about anybody and always said "Good to see you," and you got that feeling that he really meant it.
The last academic year I went back to that school and took voice and piano lessons under Frances Wilson and Jennifer Thomas, respectively -- both of them spectacular instructors themselves.
The first time I took piano under Mr. Israel wasn't easy for me, because I didn't have access to a piano during the last month of the course and my work suffered. But my skid did not affect our friendship.
This year I stuck with the piano, and all summer I've been working on playing "Lorena." I wish I could have played it for him when he was still alive. If I may toot my own horn, I think it would've made him happy knowing his work paid off down the road. Besides, that song came from one of his favorite musical eras.
I hope everybody knows someone who has had such a wonderful influence on so many people.
I hope wherever he is, Mr. Israel can keep up with what his old students are doing. I hope he can tune in to me playing "Lorena" sometime. You just can't say enough about somebody like him.
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