sábado, 28 de abril de 2012

Hail, gladdening light!*

Today we are celebrating the choral excellence of Dr. Kenneth Fulton, a man whose career as a professor, conductor, researcher, and music maker has touched and changed many lives. My life is one such example. There are two distinct periods in my life: the time before I arrived in the United States and the time after the four years I spent here. During those four years at LSU Dr. Kenneth Fulton was the most important influence in my thinking about music, myself, teaching and education. Because of his teaching and passion for music, I know I’m a stronger professor, a fine musician, and a better human being.

One of the most remarkable experiences during my time at LSU was in the summer of 2001. I was taking Contemporary Choral Literature and I had to present a seminar on Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion. I was scared and afraid because that was my first seminar here at LSU. For those of you not familiar with that piece, it is one of the most important works written in the twentieth century. It is a very long piece, rich in details and very intricate. In addition to these musical issues, I also had the language barrier. I tried, unsuccessfully, to escape from the very hard task of preparing a seminar on the piece. Besides ignoring my complaints, Dr. Fulton encouraged and supported me on the challenge. I spent many hours analyzing that piece, relating music to text, as well as evaluating some tonal aspects never discussed before. It was an experience of a life time – as you told me it would be.

Dr. Fulton, your legacy extends far beyond the United States. You saw that first hand when you came to Brazil last year. As you mentioned to me, my students have some kind of fire in their eyes, a passion for knowledge and music. That is because of you. You taught me to love music even more.

I am grateful to you for all the hours of consultation, meetings, comments, suggestions, professionalism, and friendship while I was at LSU. Unquestionably, you made LSU an unparalleled experience. And, your commitment to music and your former students doesn’t end when we graduate and leave LSU. I will continue to value your advice as a colleague as I build a robust choral program at my university in Brazil. I am honored you are part of my development as a professor and musician. I hope to follow your example of teaching students to become ambassadors of music so they in turn will share their love of music with others just as you have done.

Vladimir Silva (silvladimir@gmail.com)

This text was originally presented on April 21, 2012 during the ceremonies in honor of the choral excellence of Dr. Kenneth Fulton, a lifetime of music-making! Hail, gladdening light is one of his favorite pieces. To watch the video of the concert, visit http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22056381 I would like to thank Pam Kaster for revising the text.

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