A Shared Journey, Pt. 2
Last year I wrote a piece titled "A Shared Journey of Discovery" about how an email from one of my freshman Latin students brought about some international, cross-temporal connections involving the music of ancient Rome. That journey continued recently with a most amazing Zoom between England and Noblesville, Indiana.
Zooming Across The World
Those of us who are, as they say, digital immigrants, will never cease to be amazed by the connections that technology can enable us to have. On a Wednesday afternoon in January of 2023, students, faculty, and members of our community were able to sit in the media center of St. Theodore Guerin Catholic High School and have a conversation with someone nearly 4,000 miles away. There she was, displayed as sharply on screens as if she were in the room with us and with sound that made her voice as clear as if she were sitting on the other side of the table. And what was the purpose of this high-tech conversation? It is was to hear from Mary Ann Tedstone Glover about her work to understand, reproduce, and record the music of the ancient world.
It's All About The Questions
Mary Ann, about whom you can read more on her website, whom you can follow on Twitter, and whose work is available on Spotify and for purchase at Bandcamp, is a composer, a TV and film consultant, and is just weeks away from finishing her Ph.D. The project that has everyone so excited, however, is her album The Music of Ancient Rome, and she spent nearly an hour with us talking about it and taking questions from the audience. Click the picture below to see the whole Zoom.
She shared with us how x-ray imaging of artifacts revealed details to help in the re-creation of ancient musical instruments and talked about the long, involved process of writing music based on ancient modes, selecting lyrics from Latin authors, and putting it all together with professional musicians in the studio.
What struck me most, however, were the fantastic questions our students asked, and apparently it struck her, too, for as we messaged after the event, she said, "The questions were really good. They are a great bunch!"
One of the distinctive art forms of the ancient world is the mosaic, little pieces of color that combine to make a delightful whole. Mary Ann's work draws upon Latin, music theory, music composition, music production, archaeology, technology, marketing, fundraising, communication, social media, and more. She has combined all of these to bring to life music not heard for two thousand years, and this is what true education is all about, the kind that can be found at our high school and many others that are committed not to the slavish worship of test scores, but to helping students discover and develop their gifts as they explore the world around them, stretching as it does across time and space. On a Tuesday afternoon in January, the students of Guerin Catholic High School saw many colorful pieces joining in a delightful whole. This is the essence of true education, captured best in a poem written for a different reason by Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot John Gillespie Magee, Jr., in 1941.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,—and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air ....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
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