On the eve of November 23rd 2015, I interviewed my grandfather, Benny Reno Emerson, on the influence of music in his life. During the interview we talked about how long music has been a part of his life and how it has shaped who he is today. We also touched on three songs that meant the most to him. The three songs that he claimed to be the most significant to him were “K.T.”, “Kill the Pain”, and “I’m a girl watcher”; all songs that he has performed live, at stages across the Midwest, including the well know Wisconsin summer musical festival Summer Fest. This is a picture of Benny Reno Emerson at age 32
Benny Emerson is an African American Male who was born in Stephens Arkansas in 1939 to mother Virginia Emerson and father Simmie Emerson. With his parents being musicians, Benny was introduced to the world of music very early on. Growing up Benny participated in the church choir with his parents which is where he obtained his vocal experience. Singing wasn’t enough for Benny though, he needed something he could play. By the time Mr. Emerson was fifteen years old, he had purchased his first musical instrument- a trumpet. Benny would spend hours on end playing his trumpet, playing any sheet music he could get his hands on.
After a few years of playing Benny uncovered a hidden talent of his. Since he had begun playing, Benny had only played music that he had the written versions of. He learned to play by reading the notes, not knowing that he could actually hear the notes.