As the sun rose over the east side of campus on this final day of 2018, the simple joy of another day on this earth settled upon us. The peacefulness of quiet pathways, empty classrooms, and traces of late November snow storms clinging to shade cast on the north side of buildings is lovely, but leaves campus feeling incomplete. On Wednesday evening students and faculty will return from a two week break, filling the void we feel right now as we all dive into a new year. On this final day of 2018, we offer our New Year’s resolution for 2019: Pursue Happiness.
In a small community like ours, we assume we know each other. We mistakenly tie an individual's identity to that which we see on a daily basis: their personality in the dorm, in the classroom, their smile as they walk to lunch or assembly, their athletic talents, their style based on how they dress. We assume we understand and appreciate the entirety of each other's contribution to the Proctor community, and yet during this final week of each trimester, we are left with a powerful reminder of the depth of being that exists within each member of our Proctor family.
It is good to remember that the lightness of being is nearby, ready to balance out challenge. Sometimes you catch it in the glimmers of sun sheeting across a field and a mood shifts. Or a day. Of course you have to be open to the possibility, and sometimes you have to actively look for the lightness of being. Sometimes the moment simply seems to fall in your lap. Fortunately, at Proctor, there seems to be a high density probability of encountering one of these uplifting interludes.
This weekend, the 26 cast members and 15 crew of the Proctor theater department will take the stage to perform In the Heights. With music and lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the author and composer of famed Hamilton, the mix of hip-hop, salsa, and classic musical numbers make this show a good one “even if you’re not into musical theater” says lead Sam Wyckoff ‘19, “because it is so special - the message, the music, the dance - all of it”.
Sometimes we forget how much talent surrounds us in this tight knit school community. We see faces walk by on the paths, interact with students in classes, advisory, at meals, and in the dorms, and just know them as regular kids. And then they step foot on the stage, the court, the ice, or the hill and a whole different set of talents are exposed. Whether it was Annie performing an original song at the Jazz/Rock Ensemble, Logan showcasing his growth as a vocalist at the choral concert, Cooper and the cast putting on a remarkable performance in the winter play, or countless students displaying their artwork at the Winter Art Show, the past week reminded us how talented our student body is, how passionate our arts faculty are, and how much this community values the intersection of the arts with academics, athletics, and afternoon program.
The cast and crew of the winter drama program have been working hard each afternoon and evening to prepare for this winter’s play on February 23 and 24: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. The show, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, is from the perspective of an autistic young man, Christopher, as he investigates a neighborhood mystery and a series of clues with deep familial implications. Throughout the winter term, the actors and technical crew have been experimenting with the portrayal of Christopher’s internal commentary and his relationships, providing a brief window into another world.
As someone who is relatively - maybe completely - incapable of carrying a tune (I’ve been told I couldn’t carry one in a bucket), who dodged requisite instrument lessons as a youth with artfulness and guile, and who only much later (this year) started tinkering with chords on a piano, you’d think appreciation for the individual and collaborative journey of musicians might have eluded me. Not so much. It’s more a sense that I didn’t carry that “gift”, that innate wizardry the musical seem to possess enabling them to hear and see the intricacies of beats and rhythms and to speak in that language, but that doesn’t translate into a lack of appreciation.
Following the final whistles of today’s games, our attention shifts to a rekindling of the long-dormant end of season rivalry with that school up north. Born on the athletic field more than 100 years ago, Holderness Week took on new life in the late 1960s when former Colby College teammates David Fowler and Bill Clough were hired as football coaches at Proctor and Holderness, respectively. The rivalry intensified over the ensuing years as playful pranks between the schools unified generations of Proctor students and faculty in support of one another. Through the efforts of Holderness’ Rick Eccleston (son of long-time Proctor faculty member Tom Eccleston) and Proctor’s Gregor Makechnie ‘90, Holderness Weekend is back!