In each issue of the Colgate Scene, there is a “Road Taken” sidebar in which alumni write about the twists and turns they took to get to where they are today. Here’s my version:
“It’s My Job” (Jimmy Buffett). I am an elementary school music teacher. You: “Do you teach the recorder?” Me: “Yes” You: “I hated the recorder!” Me: “Most people say that.”
“I’m Lucky” (Joan Armatrading). I have the best job on the planet.
“How Did I Get Here?” (Talking Heads, “Once In A Lifetime”). In the fall of 1981, I sat in Lawrence Hall as Professor Jonathan Kistler taught The Novel. He asked us to come visit him anytime. After a fabulous, hour-long conversation he said: “I have a feeling about you. You should get a Masters in Education while you’re here.” Me, teach? All I wanted was to work in the music business. Yes, I play guitar, violin & piano. Yes, I love to sing and was a Swinging ‘Gate. Yes, I have always loved kids. But teaching? (sigh) How could he misread me so thoroughly? I left his office feeling deflated.
“I’ll Show You” (Justin Bieber). I graduated Colgate, sang in the bar at the Alta Lodge (Utah), ran Production and International Distribution for GRP Records (a jazz label in NYC), got an MBA from Columbia University, helped develop new business at Columbia House (“8 for a penny!”), and did tour marketing for Joan Baez.
“Big Nuthin’” (The Roches). I was working in the Music Business, but something wasn’t right. I knew my work should have meaning, purpose, relevance and, above all, give me joy. And the Music Business turned out to be, well, just business after all.
“Teach Your Children” (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). I considered buying a “Music Together” franchise, but Professor Kistler’s words and those of other teachers convinced me to try teaching. Surprise! I tried it, loved it, and with the support of my amazing husband and family, got certified through the Alternate Route to Certification. And, best of all, I found a job in my hometown in a school my own two children ultimately attended.
“Time Has Proven I Was Wrong” by Hank Williams. Professor Kistler: You were right, sir.
“Sing A Song” by Earth, Wind & Fire. I have found peace and satisfaction from sharing my love of singing and making music every day. Thank you, Colgate, for sending me on the road out of Hamilton with the tools of flexibility, resilience, open-mindedness and courage in my heart. I am forever grateful.