The Scoggins family of Leesville passes down its love of music from generation to generation.
Generation after generation of the Scoggins family has provided Leesville with musical talent that seems more like encore after encore than anything else.
The family boasts musical inclinations through six generations, at least. And now, three of those generations are involved with the Vernon Parish Community Orchestra. But tradition is certainly not what drives them. More than anything, the family loves music.
“To be able to share music with my grandchildren means the most to me,” said Betsy Scoggins, whose two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Nathan Gautreaux also play in the orchestra. Their mother and Scoggins’ daughter, Susan Gautreaux, also musically inclined, serves as stage manager for the orchestra.
Betsy, who is treasurer for the orchestra, remembers her great grandfather as a well-known fiddle player from Caney, she said. Her grandmother played piano for area churches and civic clubs in Leesville. Scoggins herself began lessons in second grade and went on to achieve a bachelor’s of music education at Northwestern State University where she was the choir piano accompanist. Her career at NSU is, in fact, studded with musical involvement.
And her daughter followed closely in her footsteps, beginning lessons in second grade. But Susan chose a different instrument, the saxophone, and pursued it through college and now plays in the privacy of her home.
Susan’s children, Elizabeth, 17, and Nathan, 13, are coming along behind their mother and grandmother gaining experience in various bands and in the orchestra.
“Music is something Elizabeth and Nathan will be able to do the rest of their lives,” Susan said. “God gave them the ability to make music, and I encourage them to do it.”
But music gives back to the family, as well, Susan said.
“I think music gives [my children] a sense of accomplishment,” she explained. “It has taught them discipline, the meaning of hard work, and how to work with each other, especially when they prepare for a performance or a tryout.
“The proudest moment for me is when they are playing and I see smiles in the audience.“
Elizabeth, who is accomplished at both piano and violin, began music lessons at 3, she said. And she attributes her interest in learning to her grandmother.
“I wanted to be just like Betsy so I began playing the piano,” she said. “To me, music is a way to express myself. I love to perform and being involved in music is a great way to have the opportunity to do that.”
Nathan, who began playing the trumpet in fifth grade and later picked up the cello, is also grateful for the talent he’s been given.
“Music means the world to me,” he said. “It is a big part of my life ... It is awesome to sound good and play good and hear people cheer for me at a concert.”
The whole family is not only involved in the orchestra, but Betsy, Elizabeth and Nathan all play at church, too. In addition, the Jane Holton sing-alongs put on by First Baptist Church of Leesville at the Woodlands wouldn’t be the same if one chose not to attend. The family has attended every sing-along every third Monday for the last 11 years and provides musical accompaniment.
The family itself is like a musical score a genius composer has written, and with each new generation, another brilliant part is added to the arrangement.