Electronovision and 1964 Church Choir Participation
1964-1965 I was in the choir at First Lutheran Church. My father was working evenings at the drug store. He bought me an Olivetti Underwood portable typewriter to use for typing practice. Everyone at the high school summer school typing class was a stranger to me, and the building was only five years old. All the afternoons I could walk home, not much more than a mile. In my first year, my sophomore year at high school, a lot of things were different. Once school began, my mother wanted me to get tickets and take the bus. My mother wanted me to go to choir practice with her Thursday nights, and to sing in the choir from the choir loft on Sunday mornings. So Autumn 1964 through Spring 1965 I was in the choir at First Lutheran Church.
My view of why this happened was always that my mother wanted me to be around other people when my sister had individuated to University. Possibly she really did not want me to spend time alone at the house. My mother also wanted me to ride with her when she needed to drive to Lakewood to see my grandmother at the rest home. She did not want to ride all that way alone in the car. She sometimes wanted me to just wait for her and do homework. Sometimes she wanted me to go in with her and see my grandmother.
Auditions were just singing a little beside the piano for Mrs. Weiss, the choir director. The only anthem I remember was Oh, Holy Night. We sang that with the other Christmas music on the Christmas Program. In the spring. There was an outreach performance at Western State Hospital. I can remember that we were given a short tour of the grounds and performed for inmates in a large room, lit with daylight from a wall with many windows.
This was not a clean break from the friends I had at the junior high school. The ticket I had from the September 1964 Electronovision production of Hamlet, with Richard Burton, was for the evening, so it was not a field trip, and very likely it was time spent with the friends who always were focused on drama. Electronovision never became popular. I watched You Tube clips from the copy that survived and I have retained a remembrance of seeing Richard Burton perform in this simple dark costume. I looked up the advertisements for this on microfilm and found an article the Sunday before about a Thursday dinner celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Swedish Order of Valhalla. Their organization was older than their 1905 hall. My grandfather's brother was to be honored.
I had to reflect that the honor for my grandfather's brother was from a letter he wrote them. He went back to Sweden in 1957. And wrote letters to everyone.
So it was a week in 1964 in which I can find myself, at the Temple Theater in Tacoma and starting the year of choir rehearsals and anthem performances.