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Arts & Life

“All Aboard for Blanket Bay”: Carol Sharpe and Tanya Horat on the intergenerational legacy of music

Carol Sharpe (left) and her daughter, Tanya Horat (right).

As part of the 2022 StoryCorps mobile tour, mother and daughter Carol Sharpe and Tanya Horat reflect on the bountiful joy (and importance) of music and its intergenerational legacy.

Carol Sharpe: There was a lady who lived across the street from me, from us, and her name was Miss Gardner. And I used to just go over and talk with her. She was an older lady, and single, had been single for all of her life.

Tanya Horat: Uh-huh.

Carol Sharpe: And I just loved talking with her. But she also taught piano.

Tanya Horat: Uh-huh.

Carol Sharpe: I went home and I asked my parents if I could take piano, and they said, Fine, but we didn’t have a piano.

Tanya Horat: Uh-huh.

Carol Sharpe: So, I went over and—and they weren’t going to buy a piano until they saw that I was serious. But they would let me take lessons. So I went over and practiced at her house every day, and practiced piano. And after about nine months, they saw that I was serious. And one day, I came home from school, and there in my living room was my beautiful piano. A grand piano. And I still have the piano. But what she did is she made—Miss Gardner made music come alive for me. It was—she was one of the people who taught me how important it was, and could be, in a person’s life. And it created a foundation for me, then, with music. And to this day, music is a large component of my life. It has been, and I’m sure it will be.

Tanya Horat: Yeah. Yeah. And we get to enjoy the benefit of that when we hear you play. [Laughs] Do you remember any songs that you used to sing to your children? Would you be willing to sing one for us? Well, here’s one...

Carol Sharpe: [Laughs] Okay. My mother always sang, and my father always sang, to me “All Aboard for Blanket Bay.” And just as—before I went to bed every night.

Tanya Horat: Yeah.

Carol Sharpe: And so I would be reading a book, or they’d be putting me to bed, and it would be “All Aboard for Blanket Bay.” And that’s one, then, that as we had our children, I would always sing “...Blanket Bay.” And one of the things that was so heartwarming for me, is one time I was standing outside the doorway, and my granddaughter had gone to bed, and I heard her singing to herself “...Blanket Bay.”

Tanya Horat: [Laughs] That’s sweet.

Carol Sharpe: And it just really was heartwarming.

Tanya Horat: Yes. That is pretty sweet.

The 2022 StoryCorps mobile tour is recording at the Missoula Public Library, giving Missoulians the opportunity to preserve their conversations and stories for future generations. StoryCorps Missoula is brought to you in part by Clearwater Credit Union, Partners Creative, and Montana State Fund.