May Foreman Carr Made a Difference

May Foreman Carr, with her children, Malcolm, Norman and Margaret, came from Salina, Kansas to Pampa in the summer of 1930. Emil F. Myers persuaded Mrs. Carr to come to Pampa to open a branch of the Amarillo College of Music. Mrs. Carr devoted 25 years of musical talent and organizational ability to the city.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

She accompanied countless musical productions, assisted in every kind of church, club and school program, directed more than 1,000 singers in choruses and ensembles and taught 500 students to know and enjoy music. She made it possible during the depression for many to take lessons by working out payment programs with parents who would do cooking or sewing to help pay for their children’s lessons. Also she composed music for piano and orchestra and wrote many new arrange- ments for musical numbers, including “Texas Mother’s Lullaby,” dedicated to the Pampa Girl Scouts and performed at the 1976 Bicentennial Quivira Girl Scout Council event.

She authored the book, “A Manuel and Guide for the Private Piano Teacher.” There were many talented people in Pampa who were eager to follow Mrs. Carr’s leadership, and she immediately organized a civic chorus to prepare for Pampa’s first performance of the oratorio, “The Messiah,” by Handel. Augmented by a group of singers from Amarillo, thirty Pampans participated in this performance on Friday, December 12, 1930 at the First Methodist Church. From the Christmas section of “The Messiah,” the singers presented eight choruses, five recitatives and many arias.

They were directed by Emil F. Myers and accompanied by Mrs. Myers and Mrs. Carr. The members of the Pampa Civic Chorus were Mrs. W. A. Bratton, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Barrett, Mrs. Lynn Boyd, Malcolm Carr, Mrs. C. C. Dodd, Mrs. W. C. de Cordova, Miss Loma Groom, Walter Hardin, Mrs. Grace Higgins, W. L. Jordan, Mrs. John V. McCallister, Mrs. Marbaugh, Mrs. J. G. Noel, A. L. Patrick, Mrs. O. H. Price, Monroe T______ , Mrs. H. G. Twiford. Mrs. C. S. Workman, Miss Iva June Willis, J. E. – Yoder, E. D. Zimmerman, Olin Hinkle, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Irwin, Rev. Tom Brabham, Miss Amelia Miller, Harry Kelly and R. B. Fisher.

Under Mrs. Carr’s direction, National Music Week was observed in Pampa for the first time on May 3-9, 1931. The opening event at the First Methodist Church was a vesper service in which the best voices of local churches participated. The remaining programs were presented at night in the new city auditorium, with 1,000 seats, on the second floor of the new city hall. (Later this area be- came the Women’s Club Room and the Palm Room), On Monday the program was presented by the Girls Glee Club of West Texas State Teachers College at Canyon and a piano ensemble.

A variety program by many talented Pampans was presented on Tuesday. A guest violinist and a soprano soloist were featured on Wednesday. On Thursday Junior High School students presented a two-act operetta, “The Ghost of Lollypop Bay.” Friday’s program was given by grade school pupils and Saturday’s program was given by high school students. The piano ensemble that performed on Monday night of Music Week consisted of sixteen pianists playing on eight pianos.

Directed by Mrs. Carr, the ensemble played three great overtures, “Ruy Blas” by Mendelssohn, “William Tell” by Rossini and “The Calif of Bagdad”by Bolidieux. Those playing in the ensemble were Mrs. Ramon Wilson, Mrs. Thelma Barnes Perkins, Miss Madeline Tarpley, Miss Iva June Willis’, Mrs. Nina McSkimming, Mrs. Tom Brabham, Miss Louise Barton, Miss Margaret Harris, Mrs. Adele Adams, Mrs. May

Foreman Carr, Mrs. L. M. Batton, Miss Daphne Lunsford, Miss Louise Smith, Miss Eloise Lane, Everett Buckingham and Everett Smith. In later years the piano ensemble grew to be a Piano Symphony of 50 pianists playing on 25 pianos and gaining national recognition in music journals and maga- zines. Many of the programs played by the Piano Symphony were performed in the Junior High Auditorium at the corner of N. Frost and W. Browning.

Mrs. Carr retired in 1955 and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and other cities to live near her children. In 1957 the Pampa Altrusa Club presented the Service Achievement Award to May Foreman Carr. The collage prepared for the award may be seen near the Pampa Piano Teachers Association table now on display in the exhibit room of the White Deer Land Museum.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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