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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dolly Clayton McKenzie, Weldon's 3rd Organ Teacher

Barbara's sister Becky took this photo of Dolly in Rexburg, Idaho, where Dolly was visiting for the blessing of her great grandchild.
Dolly Clayton McKenzie, October 18, 2015, Rexburg, Idaho, nearly 90 years of age

Weldon began studying piano, then organ, from his oldest brother Walter, on their home upright grand piano and Hammond Organ with full AGO concave/radiating pedalboard. When Walter went on his mission to Switzerland in 1962, Bishop Bagley of the Idaho Falls 18th Ward asked 13-year-old Weldon to be Sunday School organist in place of Shirley Brocksome, the previous Sunday School organist, who would begin playing for Sunday afternoon sacrament meeting. At first Weldon turned down Bishop Bagley, but after receiving an ultimatum from his mother, he finally consented.

With Walter in Switzerland, Weldon's mother drove him to Ricks College in Rexburg every Saturday for piano lessons from Dr. Chester W. Hill and organ lessons from Ruth Barrus. This continued through 11th or 12th grade. (When Weldon turned 15 he received his driver's license and drove himself to Rexburg every week.)

It was probably during the summers of his high school years that Weldon took organ lessons from Dolly. She taught him how to play jazz on the Hammond Organ. Dolly doesn't seem to have changed a bit in the photo above.

By the way, Dolly was the piano and organ teacher of Weldon's oldest brother Walter--the first one that Weldon remembers. He took lessons from her until high school, when he studied under Ruth Barrus at Ricks College, then from Alexander Schreiner in Salt Lake City.

Dolly directed the Choraliers, a women's singing group in Idaho Falls when Weldon was in high school. She had Weldon play some organ accompaniments to works from the Messiah on the 17th Ward organ. The group also played for the Catholic Church on 17th Street in Idaho Falls (with Weldon playing the organ). This would have been when he was a senior in high school (1966-67).

One more thing: Dolly had a brother named Eugene ("Gene"?) Clayton, who played the trombone. Weldon's brother, Bill, took trombone lessons from him. He lived across the bridge to the upper power plant on the Snake River on the northern edge of Idaho Falls.