Glenda Austin -- Piano -- The Shingle Shakers
As a young child, little did Glenda Austin think, when she began playing on her first piano, that she would one day go to Japan and record her own compositions, promote music, and present workshops to Japanese teachers on teaching piano. It's been quite a trip in space and imagination for a girl who was born, raised, and, as wife and mother, still lives in the small town of Joplin in southwest Missouri.
Glenda is the daughter of Audrey and Monte Brittenham, who encouraged the musical talents of both Glenda and her sister Gloria -- and their first public appearances were as pianist and organist respectively for the Friendship Baptist church in Joplin. Family and the music of worship have always been important in Glenda's life and she and her sister are still featured keyboard musicians, now at First United Methodist church in Joplin.
Glenda received her academic training at the University of Missouri at Columbia, where she received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and her Master of Music-Piano degrees ... as well as marrying her high-school sweetheart, David Austin, who was a player for the Missouri Tigers football team.
While a student at the University of Missouri, Glenda played piano for the Shingle Shakers. Glenda recalls, "I'm trying to think exactly when and how I met up with them. It seems to me, that somehow, Rich Howard got my name as a possible piano player. I wasn't too old, a sophomore in college, (by the way, just for the record, I AM the Youngest member!!) Anyway, I do remember quite clearly the day he called and arranged to come by the sorority house (yep!, I was a preppie!) to meet me and take me to the Village Inn to "audition" for him. I guess I did OK, anyway I made it and the next thing I knew, I was the piano player. It was a lot of fun. The guys were really nice to me, (most of the time!) and I was kind of at their mercy because I didn't have a car so someone always had to take me. I lasted pretty much through my senior year and by then, most of the people were graduated, gone and the band was no more. Rich and I did continue as a banjo/piano duo and played at Shakey's Pizza Parlor. These years are around 1971-1974 ish???"
Besides being active in family and church life, Glenda is involved in the local community through playing for local theater productions, club programs, and is a member and past president of the Joplin Piano Teachers Association. She has, of course, taught piano at all levels, from kindergarten through high school and advanced students. Presently, Glenda teaches at College Heights Christian School classes ranging from elementary music through high school choir.
In addition to an already full, productive and blessed life in Joplin, Glenda is known regionally, nationally, and internationally. She has been composing for Willis Music Company for several years and has been commissioned to compose music for various organizations, as well as Clavier magazine. Many of her pieces have been included in state repertoire lists as well as the Federated Music Clubs. And Glenda herself is often invited to judge festivals and competitions.
Her association with Willis Music has taken Glenda to states from Hawaii to Florida, where she presents workshops for conventions and teaching organizations. Now known internationally, Glenda"s music is published in Japan by Zen-On publishers, Tokyo and recorded by Victor Recording, Tokyo. Glenda has had the good fortune of visiting Japan twice in recent years for the purpose of recording her music, and presenting workshops throughout Japan.
Glenda's website at www.glendaaustin.com allows music lovers from around the world not only to order her compositions and instructional books but, as well, listen to it performed. All who know her continue to look for good things to come for and from Glenda, as she shares her talent and teaching ability in her home, her church, states, nation, and the world.
Photos: #1 -- Glenda
#2 -- Glenda and her husband, David
#3 -- Glenda, her son, Scott, and dog, Shirley
#4 -- Good friend Hiroko Yasuda, Glenda and her husband, David