3.20.2014

BCTF AGM

I recently attended the BCTF AGM. It was amazing. I learned so much. The politics were kind of enthralling. There is such a divide, people who on the one hand, want to stop increasing fees and cut services, and on the other hand who don't mind fees and don't want to cut services. Now, I am a capitalist, I like free enterprise, and I think if we had smaller government that would not be bad. But, in the context of teaching, I think we need a strong union. The BC government is doing its darndest to destroy public education in favour of private schools. Private education is fine, to an extent, but if we destroy public education, we will be hurting ourselves as a province quite badly. The weakest members of our areas will be the ones to suffer, and when the strongest, loudest ones are the only ones speaking about it and the weakest ones are voiceless, it isn't equitable, it's not democratic. If the government were treating teachers well, we wouldn't need such a strong union, but the government is always trying to save money on the backs of teachers and students. (Aside, there is no possible way to separate the experience of teachers and students in the school system)


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In other news, John Trepp's memorial is may 3rd. Our community choir is going well. We are visiting old friends tomorrow. Life is better than I deserve. I took Z skiing today, only on the small hill, but it was still pretty cool. Then we went swimming. busy day. good times. I am enjoying my small part in the union. It's a good learning experience.

3.07.2014

John Trepp, Memory Eternal.

My high school choir teacher died two nights ago. I am a music teacher because of him. Don't get me wrong, my parents are my biggest and best influences, but aside from them, John Trepp made me who I am today. He was the first person outside my family to give me serious discipline, expect serious commitment and kick my ass when I needed it. It was because of him that I immediately loved orthodoxy. I loved the monks at Gibsons because I had tasted the discipline that they lived when I was in choir. I loved the no BS attitude of Fr. Lawrence because I first had it in my high school choir. This man was an agent of God, and had a faith and an ability to draw us in to his desire for excellence that I have encountered rarely. He wasn't the best technically that I have worked with, but his emotional engagement was so high that we wanted nothing more than to be excellent, to serve the music. Tomas Luis De Victoria and Palestrina are alive inside me because of him. Bach's little Organ Fugue BWV 578 is constantly with me, not only because of him, but partly. That's actually a good story.

As a young boy, my dad would play Jacques Loussier's Jazzy recording of BWV 578 often. I loved it. It is still arguably my favourite piece ever. ever. well, that and TL de Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium. Both will accompany this post. But I learned of BWV 578 from my dad, but then in grade 12 we sang the 8 part vocal version that I will post here. And to sing it is to know it. It is my goal to get my choir to sing it one day. It is so simple and complex, so beautiful and mathematical. So contradictory. We did it, in high school. What an experience. We sang Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium. O great mystery that the saviour of the world was born among animals. Words can't express the beauty of these experiences. like orthodoxy, you had to be there, or you have to taste and see. Which is why I am a choir/band/music teacher, because you have to be in the middle of it to get it. Because of this man, John Trepp, I got it, and I get it. I hope I can give my students even half of that experience.

Memory Eternal John, may flights of angels sing you to your rest. Your memory will be eternal through me and my students.


 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L87ixPXviFg this is the Victoria O Magnum


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L87ixPXviFg This is the Bach BWV 578.