WBHS’s very own orchestra teacher, Linda Trotter surprised everyone with her television debut on August 31, 2018 at Aretha Franklin’s funeral service. Franklin, who passed away, at age 76, is known as ‘The Queen of Soul’. Her music had a huge impact on many people’s lives, including Trotter. Trotter praises Aretha, by saying “I love so many of her songs, they have different meanings for me. So I can’t really say there is a favorite one. When President Clinton played “Think”, at the funeral, it brought back a lot of memories. When “Respect” came out, a lot of women weren’t getting respect, and the song really said ‘you have to respect me’. So back then, her songs made a big difference in many lives. It makes a difference- the songs. Most of the songs from the 70s and 80s have meaning, if you listen to the words. If you listened to the meanings, they reflected what was going on. I just enjoy her music and the messages.”
Those who tuned into the service could see Trotter right behind the podium with her instrument, a violin. When asked how she was granted this opportunity she said “a friend of mine was contracting and knew that I played for Aretha several times and recorded with her a couple times, so he asked me to come and play.” When planning a funeral, there is very little time. So how did she even prepare to play for such a huge audience? She stated that “I practiced daily for the past several years. When you get called in for an audition, you go right in and play. Your practicing starts from day one and you learn to sight read. When you walk into a session, they put the music in your face and you just have to play it. That’s why I force my students to do a lot of sight reading. You have to have the skills to play the music.” Ms.Trotter learns from her experiences as a musician and incorporates into her class. Sight reading practice can be dreadful, but it definitely helps.
Sydney Carroll, who is a junior at WBHS, as well as Ms. Trotter’s niece, recalled her reaction to seeing her Aunt on TV by commenting that “I had turned on the news, to watch the funeral and pay my respects. I was watching and I got a text from my mom saying ‘is that Linda behind the podium?’ Then I saw her and I kind of freaked out, because my aunt was on TV. It’s very cool to see someone you know on TV.”
Ms. Trotter’s talents have gotten her far and it was very exciting to see her playing for the service. As a student of Ms. Trotter, I was very excited to interview her on how she was able to score this opportunity.