Jean Emberton Interview Clip 01


Jean Emberton Interview Clip 01


Remembering her father's friendship with Edith McIntosh, piano recitals with her two brothers, and playing with the static electricity from the basement level carpeting.




Jean Emberton McAvoy
Pamela Kostelec


Alyse Hennig


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Rockville Centre, NY




Alyse: I am Alyse Hennig, and today is August 21, 2016, and I am here with Pamela and Jean, and Mark. So we are going to talk about the history of the Edith McIntosh School of Music, which Jean was a student at starting in 1936. So, do you remember the first time you attended the music school?
Jean: Well, I guess I was pretty young, and my father and Edith McIntosh were buddies because they both were born in Scotland, and they had that connection, so I just fit in to be at that school.
Pamela: Well, your older brothers went there first.
J: Well, yeah.
P: Or did you all join at the same time?
J: I’m not sure about that. Yeah, the two boys were there also. Yeah, it was my dad that brought us to there, because he was brought up in Scotland with [Edith’s] mother. And that was it.
A: So you all took piano lessons, is that right?
J: We all took piano lessons, yes we did. We played trios.
A: And you played trios together, that’s wonderful.
J: I was on one piano, and the two boys were on the other piano. [Laughs] We had to give recitals, and we did that.
A: Do you remember what the recitals were like? Did you have to dress up fancy?
J: Yes you did. We couldn’t wear our average clothes. We wore pretty clothes, and bows in your hair in those days, and everything was very nice.
A: What else happened at the recitals? Was there food and drinks? Or a party afterwards?
J: I believe so. There was some type of little party afterwards. It was fun. And while some people were practicing and doing their staging upstairs, we were downstairs in the basement playing with the electric light. Walk around on your feet, then you touch the electric light and you’d get a spark.
A: [Laughs] So you’d get static electricity from rubbing your feet on the carpet?
J: That’s right, we kept doing that.
A: [Laughs] That’s pretty funny. And so what was in the basement? Was it a big practice room?
J: Yes, it was a carpeted area that they could do almost anything in.

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Jean Emberton McAvoy and Pamela Kostelec, “Jean Emberton Interview Clip 01,” Edith McIntosh School of Music Digital Scrapbook: A Community History Project, accessed July 25, 2024,