After my adventures in Sedona, Flagstaff, Zion and Bryce, I was exhausted!! I needed some time to rest, recharge my batteries, and catch up on my blogging. So, I booked myself a room in Salt Lake City for a couple of days and just happened to post on Facebook that I was headed that way. Right after I posted that, I got a response from my former horn student Cameron, who said he and his mom and sister would be in Salt Lake City the next day, would I still be there? I said yes, let’s get together!
I first met Cameron when he was a freshman at Jeffersonville High School. My dear friend Scott Cooksey, the band director there, called me and asked if I’d be willing to take him as a student. “Of course!” I replied. Scott continued, telling me that Cameron had Aspergers, a mild form of autism. “Makes no difference to me!” I said. I was happy to teach any and all of Scott’ horn players.
Later that evening I asked my partner to inform me a bit more about Aspergers, since I’d not had any experience with that in the past. She described some social interaction and communication characteristics for me to be aware of. After that, I spoke to Cameron’s mother Jen, and we set up a lesson for one Saturday morning.
That morning, in walks this tall, thin, gangly young man with his horn. After the lesson, I distinctly remember thinking this young man appears no different than any other 14 year old boy I”ve met! From that day on, I developed the most wonderful friendship with Cameron. He possessed an incredible enthusiasm, joy, and passion for the horn. He was a diligent practicer and made great strides from that first lesson through his Senior year. And even more importantly, he was a kind, compassionate, and friendly young man who found a home as part of the Jeffersonville High School Band and was well-loved by all of them. I can say that he has been one of my favorite students ever, and I am so proud of him and all he has accomplished.
Cameron spent a couple of years on his mission trip in North Carolina and has now started as a music major at Brigham Young University Idaho. He had just completed his first semester there and his mom and sister were picking him up and bringing him back home until he starts up there again in January, and Salt Lake City was on their way home.
I contacted Jen and advised her where I was staying and asked where we should meet up. “Temple Square!” she said. “It will be easy to find.” So, I drove up I-15 and sure enough, I couldn’t miss it! I walked in the South Entrance to the square, and was just checking in on FB, and about to text Jen, when here comes Cameron walking towards me! Still the same old Cameron after all these years, but turning into a man. (They grow up so fast!). We hugged and then walked over to his mom Jen and sister Jamie, who had JUST had her wisdom teeth taken out. She wasn’t feeling so great, so Jen sent me and Cameron off while she attended to Jamie. What a great opportunity for me to spend time with Cam, and he gave me a fantastic informative tour of the Square. First, we went into the Tabernacle, the original home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Oh, I was thrilled to see it! What I wouldn’t give to hear them sing in there! And to hear that organ, that has over 11,000 pipes! Just then, two girls up front were giving the acoustical demonstration. First, one of them tore a sheet of paper in thirds, and I could hear that all the way in the back. Next, I saw her drop three things into a bowl, and by the sound of it I was assuming they were little rocks. But Cameron and a Sister who was speaking to us told me no, those were pins dropping! So it is true, the acoustics in the Tabernacle are such that you really can hear a pin drop. Amazing!
Next, Cameron brought me to the Assembly Hall, a lovely, more intimate building with beatiful stained glass windows and a smaller although still impressive organ!
Finally, we walked across the street to the Conference Center. We were greeted by a young man who invited us to take a tour of the building. So, a small group of us spent about 45 minutes walking through the center. Not only is the conference center a huge, 20,000 seat hall where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir presently performs, but it also houses some incredibly beautiful works of art – painting, sculptures, glassworks, and the most beautiful gardens on the roof of the building.
After finishing the tour, we met up with Jen and Jamie at the History Museum, and Jen snapped a picture of us in front of a display of old instruments. How appropriate! We all hugged as we said our goodbyes.
I told Cameron today how really glad I was to have the chance to meet up with them. It’s been a tad lonely the last week and a half, and was so comforting to see some friends from back home.