Clara Kielkopf memory
Not so long ago, when I was quite small, my rather ambitious mother enrolled me in a summer class. With a loving smile, she handed me a pale green flyer, upon which was boldly printed:
Guitar lessons for the wee ones! Since I didn't know what a wee one was, I immediately assumed the class was for her, and carried on with life happily oblivious to the fact that I was doomed.
It's true. I would never again be free from the first uplifting revelation that I had joined the ranks of would-be-guitarists, but when the idea was introduced to me, I barely noticed. It took James to wake me up.
James was an unpretentious man. His life was geared towards helping other people, not developing his own. I have never seen him without an instrument of some sort resting in the near vincinity, and hope I never do. I remember the beginning of the aforementioned class. He never stopped radiating waves of contented reassurance, even as he wrestled with our stubbornly untuneable guitars, or listened uncomplaining to our raucous interpretations of "Jimmy Crack Corn".
After the initial scare finding myself in a situation where I felt obliged to do the practicing, not just because a concerned mother was standing over me with a whip, but because I wanted to win the affection of my teacher, I discovered the beauty of re-creating music. By playing their compositions, I became a vessel for their unforgettable genius to pass through. Playing Bach makes one wonder if there isn't more to life than Dream Barbie, etc. Anyway, it was all very exciting.
After the class terminated, James adopted me as one of his own students. He did everything imaginable for this young, overawed pupil. He even wrote a duet, with one part extremely easy so I could play it with him. It was beautiful.
When he moved to Texas after years of struggling to surface in Louisville, we kept in touch. James had planted seeds that continued to grow in his absence. Thank you, teacher. Clara Kielkopf January 9, 1989
Thank you for the great memories, Clara! I wish I could find the piece I wrote, "For Clara." May be deep in my ancient archives. I'll have to write another! Meanwhile, I've been writing since age 12, including some pieces I only recently recorded. That and more can be found at fluteguitarwirth.com. Blessings to you all! James 2021