Sharing Memories Of Music And Milk With Janice Moore
By Cookie Steponaitis
photo by providedJanice and Horace Moore met at a
Square Dance and loved music!
photo by providedJanice Moore gets a gleam in her eyes when she talks about her family orchestra (Herrick Family Orchestra) and all of the dances she played at as a teenager and young adult. Moore wishes today's generation would keep those dances alive.
Janice Herrick Moore was born in Vermont and chuckles when you ask her to remember as far back as she can. “What comes to mind is music and milking,” grins Moore. “I was born on a farm and our earliest years were split between helping on the farm and the family passion for music.” Janice Moore was a part of a family orchestra that played at least two nights a week all over the middle and southern part of the state. Janice is one of seven children born into a home where music was a part of each day. “My father played the drums and each of my siblings was involved in some way,” recollected Moore. “My mother played the piano and my brother George played the clarinet and guitar. My sister Jane and I played the accordion and we had our own family orchestra. Even my nephew played the saxophone and the violin.”Along with siblings Joe, Ted, Winifred, Lewis, George, James and Jane, Janice remembers how the accordion came to be her instrument of choice. “We would go to the Barn Dances and Square Dances for miles around,” shared Moore. “There would be people there playing the accordion and I would tease daddy to get me one. He bought us a small one and later as Jane and I both got into music, he purchased a larger one.”
Janice Moore attended a one room school growing up and fell in love with history but honestly cannot remember when music entered her life. “I think it was already a part of the family when I was born. Music simply was as much a part of our lives as the farm. My memories of milking cows, feeding baby cows and practicing and playing in the orchestra are simultaneous. I would go to school and milk with the family. Friday nights and Saturday nights, we always played a dance in Tinmouth, Manchester, Dorset or West Rutland. Or the phone would ring and we would be asked to play a special event. The Herrick Family Orchestra was always on the road.”
Moore pointed out for the listener or the Voice reader that these local dances were more than just a gathering. People packed the place to socialize, dance and meet and see neighbors. World War Two was going on and people were hard at work and play. Gathering together was a way of hearing news and keeping the community strong with so many away at war. It was one of those packed Saturday nights at the Pond Pavilion where Janice Herrick crossed paths with Horace Moore. “We were introduced as I recollect,” explained Janice. “We were married on November 21, 1942 and had many years together. My dad, in addition to the orchestra was a Square Dance caller and if we were not playing, he was calling.”
While Moore still loves to play and listen to music today, she is saddened that the traditional dances of her youth are getting lost in the modern world. She spoke about the ease with which people can get and listen to music, but sighed when she talked about the joy of being with people, making music together and dancing, laughing and talking. For Moore it was not only family but community and a way of life she feels only exists in pockets of remote parts of America.
Janice Moore to this day can play from memory or read sheet music placed before her. She is very thankful that her family had the passion for music and that she had ten years of being a part of a family orchestra. Closing her eyes she can still remember the sounds of Home Sweet Home, one of the first pieces she learned on the accordion and hear the stomping of feet and see the intricate and quick turns as the families danced to the music of the Herrick Family Orchestra. When asked what she would most like the readers to know about that special time in her life, Moore pauses for just a moment and then with a smile concludes, “If you have music it is with you forever. I am the last alive of that family orchestra, even my nephew is gone but when I close my eyes the music is right there and it still makes me smile.”