I had a conversation with a friend the other day in which we were teasing out the connections between the people we are now and the people we were when we were young. I imagined myself at 12 years old: skinny and shorter than most of my peers, with a rat-tail, acid-washed jeans and a denim vest, hammering on a beat-up, no-name guitar.
In the course of the conversation, I unearthed some of what remains in me of that 12-year-old boy: a desire for deep, sustaining friendships, a curiosity about the world around me, and a love of making music with others. That love of music began in Mr. Irwin’s music class. I remember the arrangement he made of “I Shall Be Released,” which we rehearsed for weeks and performed at a winter gala for our families. His arrangement was challenging and complicated, and he pushed us to be precise and disciplined, both in our practice and in our final performance.
I had never heard the song before, and when I heard the original, years later, I was floored by how Mr. Irwin’s arrangement and those weeks of practice – of getting it wrong together and then getting it right together – had transformed it. Middle school music was the place I went to feel connected to others and to experience the beauty that emerges when different voices come together. Something core to the “me that sits here writing this letter” was forged on those risers and in that rehearsal space.
I am not suggesting that you become a musician in middle school if you have absolutely no interest, but I will challenge you to be open to music and any other opportunities you have to find what might become for you what music is to me. Maybe that is trying a new sport, auditioning for a spot in the musical, or joining the robotics team. Middle school is a time to try out lots of different activities, to experiment with different roles, and to connect with peers.
I am excited to meet our new students and catch up with those of you returning to campus from summer break. If you are new to Field, I want you to know that your teachers, advisors, and coaches are eagerly preparing to meet and teach you. We will have many opportunities and ways for you to learn about each other through advisory and classroom collaboration.
Community defines Field. It is my community, your community, and our community. Welcome and welcome back.
Director of Middle School
Note: Please read through this issue of the Falcon Press to make sure you have all of the important back-to-school events on your calendar.