Remembering Susie DeShazo and Her College of Music

A look back at one of our city's best-known music teachers.




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DeShazo Relatives In Memphis??

I was in the Shelby County school system from 1961 until 1968. We had a music instructor that stopped by the school to assist and accompany us when singing during our music period. She brought a cased autoharp with her each time she came to our school. I presumed that she likely went to other schools, as well? When she got into our classroom, we would distribute the music books, while she uncased her musical instrument. Then she would grab one of the student chairs, turn it to face us and would strum along as we tried to warble the song selections from the classroom music books. “Waltzing Matilda” was a class favorite. She looked to be maybe in her thirties or so in the 1960s. Her name was, Miss or Mrs. DeShazo. I wonder if there was any relation to the DeShazo’s in the Vance story?


Milton Bradley more than 1 year ago

DeShazo's in Memphis

All DeShazo's in Memphis are kin in some manner. The DeShazo School of Music ladies did not have DeShazo children--most of them never married, but there was was another branch of DeShazo's with presence in Memphis--my direct lineage folks--they were Methodist preachers, musicians, doctors. Lynn Vernon, well-known guitarist, had a DeShazo grandmother and his first cousin was Richard Vernon, opera singer at the Met. My nieces studied with Susie DeShazo. Their mother, my sister, still plays piano at church at age 84. You can bet if your harpist was a DeShazo in Memphis she was kin to Susie and fortunately to me.

Frances Alexander more than 1 year ago


Vance Lauderdale

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of four books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History Expert (2011), Vance Lauderdale’s Lost Memphis (2013), and Vance Lauderdale’s More Lost Memphis (2014). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards (including “Best Blog - 2017” from the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards), the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den.