(August, 2014) I'm Morrie Reece, I'm 70 years old and now reitred. My wife Sue and I live in Wildwood, Missouri, a suburb of St Louis.
My musical experience began at the age of seven when my grandmother bought me an upright piano for $50. I began to take piano lessons, and continued piano lessons until I was 17 years old. My grandmother also bought me a Gene Autry guitar when I was twelve years old. I also learned to play the bugle when I was in the boy scouts. I sang in our church choir as I was growing up. In high school I was selected to the Illinois All-State choir as a tenor.
My best friend and I played guitars together and formed a band in high school in the early 1960s, playing all the popular songs on the radio by the Kingston Trio, the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Paul Anka, the Ventures, Elvis and others. We would also travel around the midwest playing and singing church hymns in Christian churches. The congregations were always a bit nervous when we walked in with our flashy electric guitars and big amplifiers. This was in the late 1950s and nobody used guitars in churches back then; especially electric guitars with big amps! They calmed down when we began singing Peace in the Vally, Beyond the Sunset, In the Garden, It Is No Secret, pretty tame stuff for sure.
I joined the US Navy at age 19 and was selected for the US Navy Bluejacket choir. As a Bluejacket choir soloist, I sang for the funeral of President John F Kennedy in 1963.
Following the Navy I returned to college to earn my Bachelor's and Master's degrees. While in college I was very active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I played my 12 string guitar and sang my own folk gospel songs all over the country.
I joined Apple Computer in 1981. I spent the next thirty years with Apple in numerous management positions in Apple's education division, working with K-12 and university educators and administrators. I conducted dozens of classes for teachers on Garageband and Logic, two of Apple's most popular musical software applications. I also trained thousands of teachers how to create podcasts. I was involved in the initial design of iTunes. In 2009, I received an honorary doctorate degree from my alma mater "for my lifetime of work with over 120,000 educators" during my 30 years at Apple. When I retired in 2011, I was Apple's most senior executive in education.
As for my musical history, in 1987 I bought my first synthesizer, a Roland D-50. Being an Apple employee, I had access to all of Apple's musical software over the years, and so I plugged my keyboard into my Apple IIe and then my Macintosh computers, fired up the MIDI sequencing software and became my own one person orchestra. As the Macintosh computers got bigger and more powerful, I continued to use more and more powerful music software. I became an expert in Garageband. and Logic, since they were both Apple products.
I bought additional synthesizers over the years: Casio, Yamaha, Roland, and M- Audio. I bought a Yamaha Clavinova CVP-201. I started using an iPad to create music when the music software migrated to the iPads. I purchased better microphones over the years. For the past ten years I've created a CD of Christmas carols each Christmas, which I give to family and friends. One year I gave out over a hundred CDs. Finally, in April of this year (2014) I bought my Yamaha Tyros 5-76. That's when I discovered the Yamaha Keyboard Players Forum and then found this web site, the PSR Tutorial
I play (by ear) all styles of music, from folk to classical, from rock to sacred, from pop to country. I especially love the songs of the 60s and 70s. I always told my daughter Allison, "my generation invented rock and roll"! I like to take a modern song and play it in the style of a classical composer, and you can find several examples of this up on YouTube.
- Morrie Reece