SPINNING THE RECORD – SUMMER 2016
Nearly three years ago, as we were putting together the “NU in Flight” issue of the Record, I had the pleasure of speaking with Rudolph Treml ’62 (formerly Rudolph E. Beinstein). An Army scientist on assignment with NASA in 1969, he was on hand at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory to accept the Moon rocks from Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin following Apollo 11. I said, “It must have been something, to be part of that moment.”
“It was.” He paused, and I thought he might elaborate. “But I don’t consider it my most memorable achievement,” he went on. “Performing the Mendelssohn piano concerto in 1959 with the Norwich University concert band—that was one of the greatest, most unforgettable moments of my life.” He choked a little at the recollection. It would be his last classical piano performance.
In 1989, I entered college as a music major. How cocksure I was, the clichéd big fish. My instrument was the trombone, and to that point I’d been an instinctual musician, playing primarily by ear. Quickly, I discovered how woefully behind I was in music theory and formal technique. I began to drive myself in these areas, and to my dismay, my playing rapidly deteriorated. The more I pushed myself, the worse I got, and by 19, I burned out. It took me years to understand that in my obsession to master the mechanics, I had lost sight of the music. And while it was a tough pill to swallow at the time, that experience also turned into a profound life lesson.
Music is funny that way—it teaches us about ourselves. Upon graduating high school in the early 1980s, Norwich assistant commandant and director of bands, Todd Edwards, had no idea he would become a career musician. Nor did Danica Buckley ’85. And yet they both went on to rich careers in music. We celebrate their stories, Rudy’s, and many more, in this issue.
Last October, Anthony Marden ’17 and Norwich regimental bugler Ben Boylan ’18 played “Echo Taps” at the Class of 1959 Bridge in memory of Pier Mapes ’59. I remember that call—mournful, reverent. Later, Ben told me what an honor it was to be part of that memorial, and explained with great enthusiasm that “Taps” is a call to be felt rather than merely played. Ben also recalled that after the service, “General Sullivan came up to me and there were tears in his eyes and he shook my hand. I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life.”
The connections between Norwich and music are innumerable and immeasurable. Music evokes memories, feelings, optimism, and hope. Music is forever, and so is Norwich.
For the Record,
Jacque E. Day, Features Editor
Editor’s note: Diana Weggler will return to “Spinning the Record” in the fall.