The 70s certainly weren’t ALL bad. R.I.P. Lindsey Cullen.

high school years

Yesterday I learned of the death, on New Year’s Eve, of one of my favourite high school teachers. A reporter from The Gleaner, the local small-town newspaper, contacted me when she saw that I had written a letter which mentioned Lindsey Cullen a while back.

I was a student of his from approximately 1972 to 1977. After being
recruited into the CVR choir by Mrs. Hooper, immediately upon entering
Grade 7, it was not long before I was able to express interest in the
school band.

I had piano experience but did not have a band instrument in mind when
I started. I also explained to Mr. Cullen that, being left-handed, I
might have difficulty with some of the instruments. His solution was
a great one, pulling out a trombone and showing me how the slide can
swing under the main part from the right side to the left and be
secured into place. Problem solved!

Eager to try something new in later years I played the tuba. This was not the huge tuba which literally wraps around your body (that would come later) but one which sat in my lap. I loved the tuba! The A&W “Root Bear” got lots of free advertising on the bus home some days. To this day I can pick out the bass line in just about any music I hear and it led me to singing bass for a number of years in choirs as an adult.

The much larger tuba, or sousaphone, came into play during
extra-curricular activities with Lindsay as I joined the Ormstown
band. This was a great experience as I met youth and adults enjoying
music together be it at the Ormstown Fair parade or at international
parades in Rouse’s Point, N.Y. and other border communities.

Finally, I was trained on the baritone saxophone – my first experience
with a reed instrument but with that familiar bass/baritone line I
enjoyed so much.

Mr. Cullen’s appreciation of me, though never in doubt, was confirmed
in a very meaningful way when the Music Prize was one of my awards at
CVR’s Graduation of 1977.

His passing leaves a rich, wholesome musical legacy in the Chateauguay Valley.


4 thoughts on “The 70s certainly weren’t ALL bad. R.I.P. Lindsey Cullen.

  1. Domitype

    Touching story – not all of us had great and inspiring music teachers!

    By the way, the Tuba is The Tuba – A Double Bass usually refers to the Contrabass Violin, or String Bass.
    The Sousaphone is also a Tuba, just wrapped differently to be easier carried when marching. (Actually, the Sousaphone is a development of the Helicon Tuba, but that is being picky 😉

  2. Bruce Barnett

    Dear Kenn,

    Thank you so much for this. I, like you, had the privelege of playing in the Ormstown Band – and of receiving so much through his music at CVR. I have often wished that I had responded to Mrs. Hooper’s encouragement to join the choir – but I didn’t and it has taken years for the latent voice in me to rise. But now it does so, but only to the glory of the Lord. The music in me which Linday nurtured lives on. I think those years were not only “not that bad” but rather good.

    Your brother, Craig, I remember well. I remember his gentleness, and his wish to join the ministry, and his friendship. Most vivid memories of him singing in, was it, Finian’s rainbow. I remember his (and my) good friend Gordan G. whose love of Jesus I did not at that time understand, and I remember the grace that Jesus gifted to Gordon, when he need it, though I could not understand.

    Mr. Glenn. He could be hard, and when I once crossed him, it was through a half truth (on my side) which I think he knew was a lie in my heart. I remember his black framed glasses (do you think he had once been mocked?) , his tweed (was it?) jacket. The threat of his discipline (yes the strap, but through discretion not applied) and his love and desire to see us learn. Even the gospel, though it seemed hard, he wished us to learn, and the power of that Word is some of what incubated over many years to save me. I think we are called to forgive and give thanks.

    Thank you for being a faithful witness,

  3. Chris Hamilton

    It was very nice, and very touching, to read your story about your love for music and how Lindsay helped you learn to play various instruments. He had that special “something” that made learning to play musical instruments fun. He instilled a love for music in me that I will never lose, and I hope to be able to pass that along to my daughter as she grows. I never get tired of hearing stories from his former students about the positive impact he had in their lives. It always brings a smile to my face. Lindsay was my grandfather. While he lay in the hospital during his final days, I could feel his pain. The last day I saw him alive, he had a huge smile on his face and seemed like the happiest man on earth, despite his physical illness. He told me that, the night before, he had a dream. He was back at CVR, teaching music to his “kids”. He said “It was so vivid. It was great”. He may have had a positive impact on his students, but you all returned the favor to him ten-fold. Thanks to all of you. It was nice that the last time I saw my “Pompa”, he was smiling with fond memories. I often share memories of him with my daughter, Lindsey.

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