The fruits of a classical education.

I was fortunate enough to be given what you might call a classical education growing up. That is, in addition to maths, sciences, and history, I was also taught languages,i sports,ii visual arts,iii and the performing arts.

In terms of this last one, the performing arts, since the age of about 5 onwards, I spent the school-year in  choir and my summers at various theatre schools performing in a variety of shows ranging from Aesop’s Fables to Angel Square to Nicholas Nickleby. I’ve played supporting roles and lead roles, in which I’ve laughed and cried, shouted and fought, sung and danced. I’ve brought the audience to be moved and my fellow actors to their highest heights. On stage, I’ve done it all and loved every minute.iv

All told, I’ve spent enough of my life with the “ON AIR” light illuminated that I have no problem commanding a room of 20 or even 200 people ; the front of the room is like a second home to me. Whereas most cower in fear at the mere suggestion of a presentation for work, much less pleasure, I relish the opportunity. With this in mind, I’d like a share a pair of my most recent performances with the Chorale Saint-Jean, Alberta’s largest French language choir. The first is from a recording session, the second is from a joint concert with the simply outstanding Kappella Kyrie.

I’ll start you off with an easier one in which to spot me (hint: ‘fro) :

And one that’s markedly more challenging (hint: back row, manbun).v

Being able to walk off the street and onto the stage with such a talented group of individuals, after almost a decade without singing outside of a car or the shower, is not only a privilege but an absolute pleasure. It really is incredibly gratifying to stretch my vocal chords again. Out of nowhere, believe it or not, this choir is now one of the lights of my life !

Even if some skills remain dormant for years on end, I guarantee that you won’t regret giving your child a classical education. As an adult, you can’t buy the kind of appreciation for the arts, much less the expressive opportunities, that it brings.

___ ___ ___

  1. French mostly, but also enough Hebrew to read it phonetically and recite a few prayers, and slightly more Spanish, certainly enough to hold an introductory conversation.
  2. Soccer, badminton, and golf mostly, but I’m really quite adept at most sports, including everything from basketball to hockey to tennis. The only game I won’t play, even though I’m tall and athletic enough to be decent at it, is volleyball. For the love of God do I hate volleyball. Seriously, it’s like having your wrists caned repeatedly. And for “fun” !
  3. Drawing, painting, and sculpture.
  4. This is also what gives me credibility when I say that actors in either theatre or film aren’t cutting the mustard. I know what the fuck I’m talking about. So when I say it’s fantastic, it is. When I say it blows, it does. This isn’t some meta-average-score that’s oh-so-easily gamed a la RT. This is Contravex.
  5. Yes, the editing is crap. What, Erik Visser never heard of cross-dissolve transitions ?!

7 thoughts on “The fruits of a classical education.

  1. […] of Freddy. This difference is but a minor alteration to the script, barely a few words spoken and a few notes sung, but it’s incredibly significant for the take-home message that the audience is left […]

  2. […] twice per semester. Where was the opportunity to show off my ability to analyse and price risk, or my classical education ? Crammed performance tests, where students gorge on data only to regurgitate it as quickly as […]

  3. […] – was a soundtrackviii that was simply tailor-made for singing along to. Chalk it up to my classical education, chalk it up to the fact that in my youth my father played the film’s soundtrack almost as […]

  4. […] I was allergic to overhead, and while I was a tall kid, I was by no means the toughest (even in a fine arts school) so I wasn’t about to shove kids in lockers over a buck here and there. All I had going for […]

  5. […] point all is visible… and perhaps even trivial. Not the kid who played non-contact sports, sang in choirs, took advanced math classes, studied immunology while reading philosophy on the side, and was less […]

  6. […] the tap dancing box, singing box, foreign AIDS box, and gay Hitler getting lid from a Mormon missionary in Hell boxes were all […]

  7. […] forget that there’s a reason Shakespeare is still performed and there’s a reason that Churches fill up this time of year more than any other : there’s a part of us that needs to hear the […]

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