Bad Singer, Good Singer

Lessons Learned

Cecil Portrait Word Art

By Emily – Grade 5

When Cecil was in grade 8, on Friday afternoons, once recess was over, Ms. Wain the singing teacher would come into his class. Ms. Wain was a kind looking lady. She was about five and a half feet tall. She never had a strict look…until this incident.  

In those days, the teachers would write their lessons on the blackboard. Ms. Wain started writing the song on the blackboard. When she got the song on the blackboard, she said, “Ok, now we’ll start. We are going to sing a new song. The song is called Old Black Joe”. 

When they started singing, Cecil sang out at the top of his lungs, “Old Black Joe!” 

Ms. Wain immediately shouted, “Stop! Stop! Cecil Rowe, is that you making that noise down there?” 

Cecil replied, “Yes ma’am, it is!”  

Ms. Wain said, “I never want to hear you sing like that in my class ever again!”  

The teacher’s comment made Cecil feel sad and he actually stopped singing for many years in public. He thought he couldn’t sing because of what the teacher told him. After school, when he was completing his chores at the barn, he would sing to the cows when he brought them in. The cows seemed to enjoy it, but sometimes they wouldn’t move. He would stop singing and grab and twist their tails to get them moving again!

When Cecil went to the military, he sang quite a bit. That is what helped Cecil feel comfortable singing in public again. The soldiers would sing when they were marching, working together, or at the end of the day. 

What Cecil learned from this experience is to never believe everything  you hear. Today he runs the Glee Club at Montgomery Village Seniors Center. They sing together every Wednesday at about 3:30 pm.