I went to a "Daughters of the Utah Pioneers" meeting today, and listened to a lesson about the music of the pioneers. The teacher brought a very old clarinet with her that is probably over 100 years old. She said it belonged to someone in her husband's family. The owner of the clarinet actually lost one of his fingers in a mining accident. So he took an old reed, and wrapped it with some cotton, and covered it with a piece of an old sock. He sewed it carefully on, and then attached that to his finger stump so that he could continue to play the clarinet. She passed it around for everyone to look at. On one side of the "fake finger" was a worn spot where it wore from playing the clarinet. It was interesting to hold it and imagine how it worked to help him play.
I've always heard that the Welsh are known for their singing. Many of these early pioneers were of Welsh descent, and carried that love of singing with them across the plains. One man who was single, met up with two young ladies with beautiful singing voices. They decided to pull a handcart together across the plains. They sang most of the way as they walked across the plains to Utah. Many of the pioneers would camp for the night, and pull out violins and other instruments so they could sing and dance around the campfire.
I come from a very musical family myself. My father has a beautiful singing voice. My brother also does, and is a choir director by profession. All of us sing, and many of us play different instruments. My own children refuse to sing in a choir, but they can all carry a tune nicely. They also refused to allow me to teach them to play the piano, but they did learn other instruments. I guess that Welsh heritage lives on, even these many generations later!