January 6, 1946. Iasabel Pawluc, the secretary for the choir back home, writes a letter to Dad. Isabel writes that she has ”been constantly on the go since Xmas.” There were some changes at the church with a new choir director taking charge and many of the members of the choir leaving in protest/solidarity. Isabel has no kind words for the new choir, rating their performance at the Christmas Mass she attended as “awful, terrible, loud, distasteful, unmusical and lots of other things not worth mentioning” all led by “an inexperienced woman organist”.
What is left of the old choir has been busy making “a few appearances” including “a radio program” on the fifth and “an engagement in Schenectady.” Isabel also writes about a party that the choir had, praising her fellow singers as “not only talented pianists and singers, they also excel in technique under a mistletoe”
On another musical front, Isabel informs Dad that she “Attended a swell concert at Union College recently – the Trapp Family. There’s Momma (Baroness Trapp), Poppa (Baron Trapp), three sons, eight daughters and a Catholic priest who conducts. They sing beautifully and also play ancient instruments, such as recorders and the virginal. It was really a unique experience.” I would note here that this performance occurred 12 years before The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway, bringing the Trapp Family into America’s popular conscience.
As far as her Christmas, Isabel writes that “Santa was very generous” and “answered my prayers and gave me three pairs of nylon stockings. At last! …Now I know the war is over!”
Isabel also writes in reaction to something that Dad must have written to her concerning the actions of GI’s in Tokyo (possibly passing along a description from a letter he received from Joe Damusis). “As for those ‘loony’ Yanks showing the Nip girls a good time, I’m firmly behind you in criticizing their actions. It’s just so stupid that it’s unbelievable. All I can remember is how their comrades looked after three years of slavery and degradation. Some people are so weak and forgetful that it’s sickening.”
Isabel also reports about some of their mutual friends who are now home from the war. She mentions seeing Zig Baldowski at Mass and writes that “He’s been away a long time” and “looks very much like his father now, since he’s put on weight and muscle. His sister Ann is still in the Spars. She looks elegant in her uniform.” Isabel also writes, “Claire’s brother Ed (Skaruna) is also discharged. Although he is 27, he intends to go to Medical College and realize his ambition of becoming a doctor.”
Isabel addresses Dad’s hopes of discharge, writing, “Don’t fret too much about getting home since things are so unsteady here. …I envy your passing the winter season in the tropics. Wish I could go to Florida to get away from it all.”
I leave you with a short video of the Trapp Family performing a traditional hunting song with their “ancient instruments”, including recorders and a virginal (a keyboard instrument similar to a harpsicord).