A Matter of Opinions

by Lee Stonehill

          The Turtle Bay Music School still exists and is advertising on the radio. 

          In the 1950s as a teenager I studied clarinet there under the distinguished musician Aaron Gorodner.  Our Sunnyside neighbors, the Turitz family, enrolled their promising teenage son, Eugene, in the same school on the recommendation of my father.

          After a few years of study, Eugene felt that he was ready to go beyond classical music and sample jazz selections.  Eugene soon found he was asking for the impossible. School policy was enforced by Miss Kemperer, the Director.  Zitha Turitz made an appointment to see her.  In the confrontation that followed, Miss Kemperer allowed that "there is some good swing", but she stood firm on school policy.

          By using this archaic term, Miss Kemperer defaulted the contest. Eugene withdrew from Turtle Bay and went elsewhere.

 

          When this story reached the Stonehill household, I glanced at my father and read his mind.  He was probably thinking that Miss Kemperer had conceded too much.  Only classical music was worthy of the name.  Eugene went on to become a talented musician and composer.  

46th Street Touch Football Team:  Eugene Turitz and Eric Fried, standing; Matthew Rivkin, Bobby Stonehill and Michael Karp;  Lee Stonehill, Peter Greenblatt, Danny Levy seated on curb

I was born in 1938 in Brooklyn NY to Ben and Mildred Stonehill.  I grew up in Sunnyside Gardens, living there from 1940 to 1968.   I attended local public schools:  PS 150, JHS 125 and William Cullen Bryant High School (June 1955).  I graduated from Cornell University in June 1959, majoring in History.  

 

I retired in 2009 from the New York City Human Resources Administration.  My avocation is local history, and I am a member of the Astoria Historical Society, the Railroad Enthusiasts and the National Association of Railroad Passengers.  I am married and the father of three adult children.  I live in Astoria, Queens, NY.