|Fran (Cicero) LaPlaca, Class of 1960|
|Inside that building was the glue that would hold me together and motivate me to move forward and upward.|
My first and most important memory [of Boardman House] is that it was the site where I received my weekly applied piano lessons from Professor Joseph Tague. He was one of the two master piano instructors located in this building.
At first I was terrified because of his strict methods, but as the years moved forward I realized his expectations lifted us to the loftiest of heights. I still have a copy of the piano fingering chart he designed, which I use for my high school classes students. I keep a copy near me at all times, and as much as I’d like to retype it, there is something special about the 1954 copy with his handwriting that makes it come alive with each use.
In April of my sophomore year I accidently broke a glass in my right hand and was not able to use it for the remainder of the semester. Professor Tague assured me I could take my exam with a left-hand performance, which with his encouragement I successfully completed.
The Little Theatre provided the scene for many outstanding drama department play productions. All the performances were top-quality and always played to a packed house. The one play that stands out the most in my mind was "South Pacific," with the males dressing up in hula skirts and causing the entire audience to supply an abundance of laughs.
Another strong memory for me surfaces from the upstairs location -- my organ lessons from Dr. Eldridge, which took place in a small room that could barely fit the organ, instructor, and student. But like everything else in the building, the educators taught and the students learned. It was like the only thing that mattered, “the main meal," the instruction.
I vividly recall walking out the front door of the Boardman House following every music lesson with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that I had just climbed another step to improving myself as a musician. Inside that building was the glue that would hold me together and motivate me to move forward and upward.
Yes, my memories of the Boardman House are huge and all positive. The entrance had an air of distinction, as if we went back in time and once we entered those doors, we knew a world of music education waited. The only way I know how to honor the education I received is to continue to teach my students using all the methods I received from my master instructors.
Thank you, Ithaca College, for providing me with a music education that is lasting a lifetime.