Zig Ziglar said, “The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more things you’ll have to express gratitude for.” He also said, “Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”
As a new high school violin student in the 11th grade, arriving in the second semester at the North Carolina School of the Arts, NCSA, in Winston-Salem, I attended my first music theory class on my first day of school. The teacher said to me, “There is no way you will pass my class!” After classes that day, I was quite depressed and went back to the dorm. That was the day I met my neighbor, Lois Artis, a wonderful trombonist, marvelous academic student, with a positive motivating attitude, always willing to help others. We talked for a few minutes and I told her what the teacher had said to me. Lois replied, “I will help you and you will do well in her music theory class.”
Lois patiently helped me understand the material, while doing laundry, so that I did well in the class! She knew, even at that young age, how to “lift” others up to realize their potential. She was a leader even in high school and understood how to develop a team. I will forever be grateful for her help.
In Mr. S’s English class in high school at NCSA, I met Bruce Lemerise, a terrific artist, and illustrator, with a brilliant mind. We enjoyed discussing the assigned books and plays by Shakespeare that we read for class and our collaboration produced the top grades in this class.
We would discuss the psychological dimensions of the characters and write thoughtful papers on our discussions. Bruce went on to study art in New York City and I went on to the Juilliard School and we continued our friendship and our discussions on books, art, music, and the theater.
When I played my graduate recitals at Juilliard, Bruce said, “How you walk on and off stage is really important.” So he made sure I practiced walking on and off the stage with my shoulders back and my head held high and balanced on my spine walking with my viola and my music. He also had a friend who did stage makeup show me how I should properly make up for the stage. Bruce knew how important first impressions were and wanted me to make a great one.
Bruce later worked as an illustrator/artist for Pepperidge Farm, Nestlé’s, Ogilvy & Mather, Avon, Durkee Spices, MGM/UA, Western Publishing, Woman’s Day, Ogilvy & Mather, Country Time Lemonade, and other companies. He did Broadway posters, and greeting cards.
Bruce Lemerise also wrote and illustrated a children’s book called “Sheldon’s Lunch” dedicated to his mother, Marie Lemerise. He illustrated A Golden Book, “Can I Get There From My Room?” and “The Big Little Golden Book of Funny Poems”. Bruce sent copies of these books for my children to enjoy.
In 1988, Bruce Lemerise died. He was a wonderful person who cared about his family, his friends and loved to draw and do illustrations. I think of him often and am so grateful that he was my friend.
As a student at the Juilliard School in New York City, I met Karen Iannotti, a remarkably gifted pianist. She was a beautiful young women, inside and out, with a warm personality always willing to help others. We lived at the Coliseum House in New York City on 228 West 71th street. We were neighbors and became good friends and enjoyed playing concerts together.
A writer friend of ours had written a one act play which he premiered at Sardis in New York City for backers and Karen and I played the background music for the play. One of the pieces was “Saber Dance” by Khachaturian which Karen and I wrote a marvelous arrangement for viola and piano. We had a wonderful time making music together and helping out our writer friend with his successful “One Act” play.
Karen Iannotti performed at Carnegie Hall in 1979 in a piano concert sponsored by Carnegie Hall, Inc. to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the birth of composer/pianist Louis Gottschalk. She also performed as a guest artist/pianist for the opening of the workshop and executive offices for Jim Henson Associates, “Moppet Show”. She was also the Musical Director and pianist for the “Bel Canto Opera Company” of New York City’s production” of “Prince Igor” by Borodin. During this time she taught many students and they learned the joy of playing the piano.
Karen was also a well-known accompanist for singers in Sara Lee’s Studio in New York City. When I wanted to study singing she suggested, “Study with Ms. Lee she’s the best voice teacher in New York City. She taught Todd Duncan who sang Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”.” Karen played for my lessons with Ms. Lee. We had a terrific time. In 1983, Karen Iannotti passed away. She brought such joy to her family, friends, relatives, and students, by her warm caring personality and her beautiful piano playing. She was one of the finest people I have ever known and I like to think she’s up there playing piano for the angels.
So, what are the 3 things you can do to say thank you to the friends, teachers, coach’s, mentors, parents, or relatives who have helped you?
1) Start your day by remembering and writing down the people who have made a difference in your life. Write them a note or call and thank them. Think of one person who has made a positive impact on your life and do something nice for them.
2) Honor a special person in your life on a weekly basis by acts of kindness to others.
3) Think of the people who have made a difference in your life and honor them in some way by sharing your appreciation by random acts of kindness to others.
“Of all the “attitudes” we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing.” -Zig Ziglar
So, start a notebook today and enter the names of your teachers, mentors, coaches, and friends who have made a difference in your life and do something nice for them. Don’t wait. Do it now, before it’s too late!
Remember what Zig Ziglar said, “The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more things you’ll have to express gratitude for.”
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