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Musical Memories of my Father on Father’s Day

June 15th, 2008 · No Comments · Uncategorized

This year I wanted to do a special Father’s Day Issue in memory of my own father, the Rev. Dr. Michael Benjamin Hudnall. Daddy was a United Methodist minister in the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church. I was born in Durham, N.C. while he was in seminary at Duke University on the G.I. Bill after World War II.

Some of my earliest musical memories took place, not surprisingly in church and as a tiny girl I loved singing songs in Sunday School and hymns in church. My father always sang hymns lustily and made me want to do so as well. He always seemed so happy up there at the pulpit singing hymns and listening to the choir and would always turn around approvingly when they finished their anthems.
As a little girl, Daddy would come into my sister’s and my bedroom and teach us songs he learned as a child and some that he learned in the Army. We loved singing these songs and I especially remember singing “My Grandfather’s Clock,” “Oh My Pa-pa,” “Do Your Ears Hang Low,” and “A Capital Ship.” If you’d like to see a performance of “My Grandfather’s Clock” and “A Capital Ship,” you can click below. Even though this isn’t my father, sister and me, you can imagine what fun we had singing these songs.

When I started taking piano lessons at age 8, Daddy was always my biggest fan and I remember him telling me at one point that he could just lie on the living room couch, listening to me playing the piano and “float right up to Heaven!” Needless to say, that made me very happy! I always knew that even if my recitals didn’t go perfectly, Daddy would be first in line to congratulate me on a beautiful performance.

My father told me that he wished he could have taken piano lessons as a child but that his family didn’t have the money during the Great Depression and so he and his family enjoyed singing and making music other ways. Music is a gift from God and I never take it for granted. As I grew up and became a parent and a professional musician I wanted to give my own children the love and appreciation for music that my father gave me. He was also extremely proud of my children’s musical ability and encouraged them as he did me. A few years ago, my oldest daughter played her violin in Carnegie Hall and I knew that Daddy was there with us in spirit. He passed away in 1999 and was a very beloved human being. At his funeral, three different ministers gave tributes to him. If you’d like to read what the newspapers said about him, go HERE. I miss my father very much today but I have all of this sermons and a few tapes of him preaching and singing the hymns of Charles Wesley that he loved so much.


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