This is one of my favourite photos of my grandmother. She played the guitar and at Christmas when our family was singing carols she would often accompany us.
In an interview recorded by my Aunt Mary, Grandma said that when she was growing up in her family’s house in the village of Gnadenthal in Ukraine they had a guitar, a banjo and a balalaika. She and her sisters Mary and Helen could all play all three. “It didn’t matter which one we picked up.”
According to Grandma, her father had a beautiful bass voice and her mother played accordion. Her mother was often asked to play her accordion at village dances or at village celebrations, like when a new house was built.
So you can imagine what great music they had in their house. Grandma says about their family’s music-making, “we played unbelievably much.” She remembers especially Sunday evenings when they had lots of company and eventually the music got the dancing started.
My cousin Bernie recalls that my grandmother had a very unorthodox way of tuning her guitar.
My cousin Al found my grandmother’s guitar tucked away in my aunt’s basement and had it restored and refinished. He says it still has a really nice sound and will be a treasured heirloom. Al notes that Grandma’s guitar still plays the chords to “Welchen Jubel, Welche Freude” which was Grandma’s favourite German Christmas carol.
Other posts about my grandparents…..
Whenever I Hear A Chiming Clock I Think of Grandma