Van Caldwell: Adventures of A Senior Citizen In Music School

Van Caldwell

When Van Caldwell retired in July 2013 he had big plans. “One of the first things I did was enroll in a music program as a senior/audit student, which meant I only had to pay the $25 registration fee,” Caldwell explains. “Many colleges and universities across the nation have similar programs for those who want to study music or any subject.”

Music was in his blood even though he’d worked as a lawyer. “I was born and reared near Memphis, Tennessee, a part of the Mississippi that extends into West Tennessee. My father was a one-man band playing guitar, keeping time on a base drum, and playing the harmonica held in place with a harmonica rack around his neck. According to family lore my paternal slave ancestors were musicians on various plantations in Tennessee and Kentucky,” he says.

“I went back to school to become musically literate and acquire a deeper understanding of this universal human trait,” continues Caldwell, who says he has almost three master degrees and a JD (law degree).

“Music school is a pleasant change,” he says. “All day one hears music coming from the practice rooms. In one room a student is practicing Chopin, a little further down, the beautiful voice of a vocalist rings out. At the end of the hall, the choir is practicing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus.’ What a thrill! Law school and business school was never like this.”

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