A huge part of my life is and has been music. From a young age, my earliest memories are associated with music that revolved around southern gospel songs in church and family reunions, as well as traditional country music.
Early on my dad was my major influence concerning music. We always went to church where singing was encouraged and supported by him and it wasn’t until junior high that we had a television (1961).
We always were listening to the radio or the phonograph. At school, I loved music. I still remember my sixth grade teacher in Aztec, having us do an operetta of Stephen Foster songs.
When we moved to Clovis, P.W. Richert introduced me to show tunes while in his choir at Marshall Junior High. In high school, choir director A.V. Wall taught us the more traditional/classical choral music. Six out of the seven Killough children successfully participated in the vocal music department in the Clovis Schools. Coincidentally, my brother Bill played a major role in the 1968 version of CHS’s production of “Oklahoma.”
In the early to mid-sixties, most all of us “baby boomers” fell in love with the tight harmonies and the progressive styles of groups like “The Beatles,” “The Beach Boys” and later “The Eagles.” We would often cruise to school, the YRB, or Hotel Clovis and enjoy the music of “The Fireballs,” “The Gents,” or “The Shy Guys.”
After I began teaching at CHS in 1970, I learned the major guitar chords from Mac Mitchell and James Stanfield. I loved playing in garage bands, music festivals and school programs with people like Jana and James Stanfield and most importantly, Lonnie Crowder.
I enjoyed sponsoring the dances at the YRB during the seventies because not only did I like the kids, I loved the music of the live bands and the DJ’s as well.
There is always a song in my heart. If I’m not singing it to the torment of students and colleagues, I’m playing music trivia with it.
I’m most proud that my kids love music and became musicians. Jay, an accomplished guitarist, plays at weddings, coffee houses and programs at Texas Tech. Kara played tenor sax in the “UNM Soundpact” and in a top-rated “ska” band in Albuquerque for three years. I have talented nieces and a nephew who have made music either their vocation or their avocation.
I believe wholeheartedly in music therapy. No matter what emotional state I’m in, there is a style of music that can change a mood or reinforce a feeling. I can get serenity, inspiration, tranquility, joy, warmth or energy just by playing a CD, DVD or going to a live performance. How powerful is that? Thank you, Daddy.
Weldon Killough is the Gifted and Talented Facilitator at Clovis High School.