Ann Wettengel Wood is a high school career and technology teacher, but she said when someone watches her play the piano they will see who she really is.
“Playing the piano is something that defines who I am,” she said.
Wood has played piano since she was seven, and now she is a grandmother. She is trying to pass along her love of the piano to her granddaughter.
“I love sitting at the piano with my granddaughter, teaching her to sing songs,” she said. “I hope that one day she will also learn to play the piano. She certainly already loves music.”
Wood owns an old Baldwin player piano “with the guts ripped out” as she said, because it no longer holds a scroll to play music by itself.
“It needs me.”
Wood is surrounded by people who need her musical gifts. She has played for her church since she was a teen and she also plays for weddings and funerals.
“Since I was 13 years old, I have always been the organist/accompanist at my church,” she said.
She played 24 years at St. Matthew Catholic Church, seven years at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, and has played at Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church since 1997.
Her church assignment happened by accident, while attending Catholic school.
“I was in seventh grade, and at daily Mass there was no one to play the organ for music. Sister Mary Presentatia found out that my sister and I could play the piano, so she put us on the organ for daily Mass. We each took turns and played every other day. Playing the organ at church made my sister so nervous that she refused to do it any longer, so that left me. I have been playing at church ever since.”
At about the same time she began accompanying friends at University Interscholastic League (UIL) music competitions, then she played at a family friends’ wedding at age 14. By the time she was in college, Wood was helping out friends who were vocal majors by accompanying them at their recitals.
“Music is my ministry,” Wood said. “I have accompanied our school’s choirs and bands for UIL contests. I play for different programs at school when it requires some nice background music, especially for the National Honor Society Induction.
Playing for funerals is an especially important ministry to me. When you ask a family ‘what can I do to help?’ when a loved one passes away, there is usually not much you can do. But music is comforting to the grieving family, and that is one thing that I am able to offer.”
The next article will focus on how Wood’s piano hobby is now a second career.