Years at BCD: Grade 6 (1969) through Grade 9 (1972)Where did you go to school after leaving BCD? Taconic High School and then on to American University and then San Diego State University for a degree in Modern Dance/Education. I attended graduate school at the University of San Diego and received a degree in Education.What have you been doing since you left BCD? After having an incredibly satisfying stint as a figure skater while at BCD and Taconic High School, I decided to major in Modern Dance in college (first at American University and then at San Diego State University). Later, as an elementary educator, I also taught creative dance for young children, as well as writing and publishing Children Dancing, a step-by-step book with photography on teaching dance to young students. In addition, throughout my late teen and adult years, I have been pursuing jazz vocal music.
Tell us about your love affair with music. My love of music began with the exposure to my mother’s musical and theatrical career in the Berkshires. I was well versed in show tunes, light opera, and choral pieces by the time I started my own pursuit of jazz. I immersed myself in Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn’s styles and learned scores (pun somewhat intentional) of Duke Ellington, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Jerome Kern to name a couple. Recently, I recorded my debut CD called “Midwinter Night’s Dream” which has tunes in French (thank you Mme Grad!), Portuguese, and Italian written by such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Django Reinhardt, Lennon/McCartney, and Jobim. (Jobim’s “Angela” is a tribute to my mother, Angela, who passed away just after the last recording was completed.)
Did BCD play a role in your love of music? We had a weekly music class that was held in Furey Hall but as I remember it, it was mostly focused on classical music. [Music class] bolstered my knowledge of music but what BCD really did for me was to expose me to more independent and creative thinking, which made me a more well-rounded student and individual. I was immensely enriched by my BCD exposure – the nurturing and stimulating environment – it made me appreciate my creativity and music.
What have you taken away from your years at BCD? I started at BCD in the sixth grade. The experience was quite intimidating at first, coming from a small public elementary school in Richmond. I found that A’s were much more difficult to attain and that the intense caliber of teaching required much more of me. Suddenly, I was taking two languages, learning to read A Tale of Two Cities and delving into the Russian Revolution! It was a humbling experience that set me up for more advanced classes in high school (French 5 by junior year, as well as Honors and Advanced Placement classes), and an interest in life-long learning.I thank Mme. Grad for her persistence in requiring us to correct all of our mistakes and to use the new vocabulary many times to learn them. Mr. Bemis’ demonstrations of scenes from A Tale of Two Cities will be forever imprinted on my brain, and Mrs. Jones’ technique of using a scepter to organize class discussions is something I used as a teacher myself. I loved Mr. Potter’s Latin classes as well as watching him as he carved little wooden animals between classes and, of course, the BCD Fair every year! The stimulation, creative freedom, wonderful teachers and brilliant friends from all over the county were an invaluable experience for me. I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but BCD was the best overall educational experience of my upbringing. The enthusiasm and energy that the staff and teachers kept for the school made for bright, electrified students. I see that now and I see it in photos of the faces of today’s students. BCD raised the bar for me. The influence of my highly driven parents combined with BCD’s can-do environment has made me not afraid to continue to go for my creative dreams, even now.
Where do you currently live? In San Diego, CA. I am married and have one child who is 19 and a musician as well. He is into computer music.
What advice can you offer current students at BCD? Don’t be afraid to change your mind and to try new things. I’ve had a lot of passions and interests in my life and have tried new things as they came along – it’s important to keep your options open and go for the things that interest you.