Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spending the Night with My Music Teacher and His Favorite Boys

Iowa City, November 1978

To fill my fine arts requirement at Augustana College, I registered for a class called "Music Cultures of the World."  It sounded more interesting than "Music Appreciation."

The professor, Dr. Morrow, grew up in Indiana and got his Ph.D. in music from Northwestern. He was the first African-American professor I had ever had to that point, so I took advantage of every opportunity to gaze at his very solid, muscular frame, with impressive shoulders and biceps.  I'm not usually into backsides, but when he turned his back to write on the blackboard, my interest was piqued.

 For some reason that I haven't yet figured out, I was the only white kid in a class of twenty.  The others were African-American, five girls and one boy (a sizeable percentage of the twenty or so on campus).

They may have been expecting more African culture.  Instead, we covered:
1. Native North America
2. South America
3.Australia, New Guinea, and Oceania (like the Australian didjeridoo).
4. China, Japan, and Korea
5. Southeast Asia and Indonesia
6. India and Pakistan
7. Central Asia and the Middle East
8. Europe
9. And, finally sub-Saharan Africa.

Since I was the only white student in the class, Dr. Morrow was very careful to make me feel welcome.  He was always calling on me, asking me questions, lending me books and recordings to drop off at his office later.  He liked my paper on traditional Chinese musical instruments so much that he kept a copy and put it on reserve in the library for students in future classes to read (it was still in Special Collections in 2014).

On the weekend of November 10th, there was a festival of Indonesian music at the University of Iowa, about a 45-minute drive away.  The headliner was Sumarsam, a 34-year old Javanese musician, expert on the gamelan, currently an artist-in-residence at Wesleyan University.

Anybody could go, of course, but Dr. Morrow said the department would pay for three students.  I don't know how many applied, but he selected me, Manny (a senior music major) and Kurt (a sophomore from his Rock class).

Three boys, no girls. What a coincidence!

Oh, and bring your swimsuit.  The hotel has a heated indoor pool.

We left right after everyone's last class on Friday, arriving around 4:00 pm.  "Dinner's not until 6:00," Dr. Morrow said.  "Plenty of time to take a dip.  Who's up for it?"

I didn't need to be asked twice!

Dr. Morrow was very impressive, as muscled as a bodybuilder, with an amazing bulge in his swimsuit, but I was jealous of the attention he lavished on Manny.  I thought I was his only favorite!

 Dinner was Indonesian, which is very similar to Filipino: rice, fish, dumplings, peanut sauce.

The first concert was good.  No naked male dancers, but a lot of interesting music.

Afterwards we went back to the hotel room, where there were two double beds.

We all stripped to our underwear, except for Dr. Morrow, who went into the bathroom and came out wearing pajamas.

 "Ok, who's bunking with me?" he asked, climbing into one of the beds.  "I'm not picky -- I'll sleep with anybody."

Manny jumped into bed next to Dr. Morrow before I had a chance to say or do anything.  I don't know if they hooked up during the night.

I slept in the same bed with Kurt, but nothing erotic happened.

In the morning I got a nice sausage sighting from Kurt, but not Manny or Dr. Morrow.

Another question: Were Manny and Dr. Morrow romantic partners?  I suspected as much, but when when I asked a knowledgeable senior about gay people at Augustana, she didn't mention either.

Dr. Morrow still teaches at Augustana.  He is in his 70s, with children and grandchildren, and he's written a major textbook on ethnomusicology.

See also: 15 Teachers I May Have Hooked Up With.

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