An Unlikely Beginning

From ECO program note author Professor Annmarie George

I was 8 yrs. old and going shopping on our standard Saturday shopping trip to downtown Erie with my mother all dressed up in my pretty dress, white gloves, black patent shoes and white lace trimmed socks. After we were done shopping my mom discovered that our car had a flat tire so she went inside a big brick building called the Erie Conservatory of Music on West 7th so that she could call the AAA for some help in getting the flat tire fixed (there were no cell phones in 1953).


While she was talking to the Auto Association personnel, I was speaking to a rather nice grandfather-looking man with a white beard named Peter LeSueur. He asked me if I played an instrument. I said no but that I really wanted to learn how to play the piano just like the girl I heard playing a piano at the YWCA did after my swimming lessons. He asked if we had a piano and I said no, that my Mommy and Daddy said they were too expensive. Once my mother was done with her call, Mr. LeSueur had a chat with my Mother and I was taking my first piano lesson the very next Friday!

I had my Dad drive every day to practice (because we didn’t have a piano yet) for about 5 months after he came home from work. My parents finally bought me a used old player piano so that I could practice at home. I was in my first piano recital six months later. The rest of the story is history because my entire career in music started through a flat tire on my parents car happening just outside the Conservatory of Music!


3 thoughts on “An Unlikely Beginning

  1. How very nice to see the old information fliers that were in the lobby area of that building! The builing was in that recessed area next to what was the social security offices at that time. They also had a beautiful garden and deep pond with koi fish and a flute player spewing water through his flute. I would sometimes wander back there when one of my parents were a little late picking me up from a lesson or practice.

  2. Annmarie!!!! What a great story. Did you know my cousin, ALAN MARSHALL?? He, too, studied with Peter LeSuer! A gifted visual artist, as well, he went on to Cleveland Institute of Art and became a graphic designer/ “Ad Man”, working for the likes of JW Thompson et al. He’s self employed in Plymouth MI today.

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