Needless to say, being named “Student of the Week” in my 6th grade class on November 21, 1963, did not leave much time to celebrate. But Robert Becker was a great homeroom teacher – he even looked a bit like a rumpled JFK. I’ll always be grateful to him for turning me on to American composer Charles Ives by playing his music in class – where and when else were 10-year-olds exposed to such music?
I asked my poor Dad to get me an Ives album – Bernstein and the NY Phil playing Ives’ Second Symphony. He got it at Heinz and Bolet on Park Row and was rather surprised when he saw the cover, with a rather scruffy photo of the aged composer.
“Is this really the album you want?,” Dad asked. Yes, it was! And I still treasure it.