Saturday, October 22, 2005

I located my headmaster...

...from 20 years ago, when I attended Professional Youth Conservatory (PYC), a performing arts highschool located in the attic of a church on the campus of Texas Wesleyan College (now Texas Wesleyan University) in Ft. Worth. The school had less than 50 enrolled students when I attended. One of my classmates was world-renowned gospel singer Kirk Franklin, and I studied under David Yeakle, a master of physical comedy. We spent half the day on academics, and another half on dance, music, mime, drama, etc. Needless to say, PYC was an exception among Texas schools that focused on "scorin' touchdowns for Jeezus". It was no parochial school, but I think many of the students worshipped (in a broad sense) through the creative process itself. We were all a part of a great experiment that has yet to be repeated in Texas, that I'm aware of.

Those two years were among the best and most tumultuous in my life. If any of my fellow students from days past happens to read this, please drop me a line. I don't bite anymore. Usually.

And now, I'd like to introduce you to a magician of sorts, a man who believed in his students and has spent his life pouring energy into creative experiments. I owe him one for not expelling me when I broke the piano bench in the sanctuary of the church PYC was housed in, where I was trying to imitate Jerry Lee Lewis' vigorous antics while banging out a pigeon-peck version of "Great Balls of Fire". He aged gracefully and is now a woodcarver, but so much more. His wood portraits reflect a peace and clarity of spirit, and I'm proud of him. He's my former headmaster, Dr. Steve Schoolar.

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