At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story.
My name is Mildred Hondorf.
I am a former elementary school music teacher from
DeMoines, Iowa. I've always supplemented my income by
teaching piano Lessons-something I've done for over 30 years.
Over the years I found that children have many levels of musical ability.
I've never had the pleasure of having a protégé though I have taught
some talented students. However I've also had my share of what I
call "musically challenged" pupils.
One such student was Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his
mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson.
I prefer that students (especially boys!) begin at an earlier age,
which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always
been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano.
So I took him as a student. Well, Robby began with his piano
and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless
endeavour. As much as Robby tried, he lacked
the sense of
tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully
his scales and some elementary pieces that I
my students to learn. Over the months he
tried and tried
while I listened and cringed and
tried to encourage him.
At the end of each weekly lesson he'd always say,
"My mom's going to hear me play some day." But it
He just did not have any inborn
ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as
Robby off or waited in her aged car to
pick him up. She always waved and smiled but never
stopped in. Then one day Robby stopped coming to our
lessons. I thought about calling him but assumed, because
of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue
something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming....
He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!
Several weeks later I mailed to all my student's homes
a flyer on the upcoming recital.
To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer), asked
me if he could be in the recital.
I told him that the
recital was for current pupils and because he had dropped
out he really did not qualify. He said that his Mom had
been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons
but he was still practicing.
"Miss Hondorf...I've just got to play!" he insisted.
I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the
recital. Maybe it was his persistence or maybe it was
something inside of me saying that it would be alright.
The night for the recital came. The high school gymnasium
was packed with parents, friends and relatives.
I put Robby up last in the program before I was to
come up and thank all the students and play a
finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would do
would come at the end of the program and I could
always salvage his poor performance through my
"curtain closer." Well the recital went off without a hitch.
The students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby
came up on stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his
hair looked like he' run an egg-beater through it.
"Why didn't he dress up like the other students?"
I thought. "Why didn't his mother at least make him
comb his hair for this special night?" Robby pulled
out the piano bench and he began. I was surprised
when he announced that he had chosen Mozart's
Concerto #21 in C Major. I was not prepared
for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys,
they even danced nimbly on the ivories.
He went from pianissimo to fortissimo...from allegro
to virtuoso. His suspended chords that Mozart demands
were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played
so well by people his age. After six and a half minutes
he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was
on their feet in wild applause.. Overcome and in tears
I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy.
"I've never heard you play like that Robby! How'd you do it?"
Through the microphone Robby explained:
"Well Miss Hondorf...remember I told you my Mom was sick?
Well actually she had cancer and passed away this morning.
And well....she was born deaf so tonight was the first time
she ever heard me play. I wanted to make it special."
There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening.
As the people from Social Services led Robby from
the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that
even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself
how much richer my life had been for taking Robby
as my pupil. No, I've never had a protégé but that night
I became a protégé....of Robby's..... He was the teacher
and I was the pupil. For it is he that taught me the
meaning of perseverance and love and believing
in yourself and maybe even taking a chance
in someone and you don't know why.
This is especially meaningful to me since after serving
in Desert Storm Robby was killed in the senseless bombing
of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City
in April of 1995, where he was reportedly......
playing the piano.
~~ Truth or fiction? ~~
In my search for the author of 'The Piano Recital' it has come
to my attention that this story has been revealed as an
"Urban Legend" and a complete fabrication.
Truth or fiction, I have chosen to display this story
so that you may still enjoy it and hopefully share
it with those you feel will appreciate it.
So if you are thinking about sharing this story, you are probably
also thinking who will you share it with; who in your family,
in your circle of friends would appreciate this inspiration???
Who would be appropriate to send this wonderful story to?
I believe we can all make a difference, we all have hundreds
of opportunities a day to help realize God's plan.
So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people
present us with a choice! Do we share a spark of the Divine?
Or do we pass up that opportunity, and leave the
world a bit colder in the process?
The decision is yours - to share this story or not to share!!!!!
If you should have any facts that can support 'The Piano Recital'
as being factual please contact Judy by clicking on the button below.
Midi playing is Piano concerto No.21 in C
Classical Music Archives.
Picture used is 'Reflections' ~ Artist: Alan Murray