Day 6: My Year of Jazz #AprilBlogADay Challenge
-->Thinking Back: Teacher that had an influence on you as a student (k-12 or higher ed).
I have written a lot about the drama teachers in my life over the years, and English teachers. It's no surprise I eventually made my way to teaching both subjects. It is where my heart has always been. But there were others. Many others. Scott Brown was one...
At the end of 10th grade I took a risk and auditioned for Vocal Jazz. When I explain to my students where I went to high school- it was like the LaGuardia of Seattle. I attended during the height of Mr. Van Kempen's tenure as head of the Theatre program. Theatre is where my heart was. But I also loved to sing. It was a huge surprise to me when I was granted a coveted spot in Vocal Jazz for the upcoming school year.
Junior year of high school, I was in Roosevelt High School's Vocal Jazz ensemble. I was never the best singer. I struggled with sight reading and I relied heavily on the stronger singers around me to follow the alto part. As a whole, it gave me a ton of anxiety. Mr. Brown yelled, a lot but he was and is one of the best music teachers around. His passion for music was exciting and inspiring. That year we got to travel to The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (and Mr. Hampton was still living at the time and performed to a packed house), we sang a Seattle's famed Jazz Alley and there were concerts and programs through out the year.
I remember feeling uncomfortable- the stronger singers were also these tiny girls who wore tight black dresses to perform in. I had picked out a billowy white top and black pants- I think I had a beautiful red silk scarf that I wore as well. I felt so out of place- classic impostor syndrome. This year was also approaching the pinnacle of my eating disorder in high school. I was the same age as my Advisory is now. I hope I do a better job of being body positive...
So Mr. Brown gave me an opportunity to try something new. I am not sure if he was taking a risk in picking me for that year or not. It was a benchmark in my life. Now that I can't really sing any more (thank you thyroid cancer and vocal cord paralysis!) the opportunity to sing like that means even more. Sometimes I forget that it was something I did- then I hear Ella sing and I float back to another time.
I don't know that Mr. Brown would even remember who I was, but I remember him. I always will.