After nearly 25 years as a supervisor of student teaching in music and professor in the School of Music teaching courses in music therapy, handbells ringing, instrumental techniques, conducting, and music for the exceptional child, I “retired” from full-time teaching as professor of music in August of 1990.
I loved teaching the bright students ISU always produces, and it was very difficult to realize my career at ISU was nearly over. It really didn’t hit me that I was leaving until I turned in my keys! I normally taught classes in several campus buildings, including evening rehearsals of the Central Illinois Concert Band in Cook Hall, so I did have several on the key ring. Leaving the Physical Plant that day, I fully realized that “the time had come.”
My wife, Doris (Mehrkens) ’71, and I packed up our things and moved to Florida. We had always planned on Florida, for we enjoy warm weather—which means we did not enjoy the cold Illinois winters! We had made arrangements to sell our home in Normal, and the movers arrived on time. As we said good-bye to our friends, neighbors, and colleagues, I insisted that “I will never come back to Illinois in the winter time! (I did not realize how wrong I would be!)
Since I was very interested in handbell ringing, upon arriving in Florida I immediately founded a group at the Lutheran Church in Leesburg. It was most interesting helping OLD people to learn the art form, for I had spent many years developing the students at ISU and knew success was in the “future.”
My interest in handbells was well known at ISU. I founded the Handbell and Choirchime Ensemble and directed the ISU groups for more than 20 years. Over the many years we enjoyed many compliments and best wishes at many concerts and school assembly programs.
After getting settled in our new home in Florida, the telephone began to ring. Students and friends from the ISU Handbell/Choirchime Ensembles began to call to offer their best wishes. E-mails also arrived with inquiries as to what I was doing. It was so pleasant to know that the loyal students and friends from ISU were going to remain in touch.
I had always been active in the Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA). As an officer I held several positions, all designed to encourage and to develop more music teachers for the state. My interest in music therapy led to my authoring a regular column called “Rosene’s Recitatives” in the Illinois Music Educator magazine. I outlined procedures and helps for music teachers who had special education children in their classes. After I retired, and because of my involvement with IMEA and that long-time column in existence, the IMEA decided to present an award to me. The only problem is that the award was to be presented in Peoria in January!
Whoops! I had already told everyone “I will never come to Illinois in the winter time.” But I felt an obligation to accept, and my wife accompanied me to Peoria on a very, very cold day (9 degrees below zero)! Upon arrival I was teased. Everyone commented to their surprise that I actually did appear in the cold! But the warmth which was extended to me from my many friends kept me quite comfortable!
I miss the University community and teaching, for I always enjoyed university life and the intellectual activities. Soon after arriving in Florida, I was asked to teach short courses at the University of Central Florida and at the College of St. Leo’s. While there I taught instrumental techniques and music for the exceptional child. Then the state of Florida asked me to lead a band director’s refresher course that was required of experienced band directors. I am a frequent guest conductor for school bands and handbell festivals and lead many clinics and workshops.
Recently we relocated to Orlando to be near our son, Richard, and his family. Doris, who is also a “retired” music teacher, is a member of our church handbell/choirchime ensemble. I play trumpet in the church orchestra, tuba in the brass ensembles, and French horn in the cantata group.
We enjoy our new lifestyle in Florida, where it is warm—most of the time!
Paul and Doris Rosene
822 Pinar Drive
Orlando, FL 32825
E-mail address: email@example.com