Hope happiness and song rise from the students of the CETNA School, Parramos Guatemala. Lorraine and I joined our Nassau Presbyterian Church mission team to visit the school to which we’ve been contributing – where students and faculty exuberantly welcomed us with a parade of home made flags and dances. While outside these walls lies a reality of harsh relentless labor and subsistence economics, within springs an oasis of joy and aspiration. We painted the building & repaired with the parents; worked and played with the students, while our three doctors set up a clinic. The takeaway: delight in each day and happiness of spirit do not require a land of plenty.
Antigua Guatemala. Mauela planted, grew, and picked the cotton, spun it into theads, grew and harvested the herbal dyes, colored each of the bright strands you see, then on her backstrap loom she weaves a magnificent and highly artistic cloth. Imagine the pride. Her products are sold at the local women’s cooperative which we visited on our Nassau Church mission trip to the CETNA school with whom we partner. Are our own lives to
Lorraine’s camera takes a bead on a shy parrot in the forest surrounding the Fuego Volcano, while Bart runs off to swim in the nearby lake.
Maestro Nicholas McGegan is short in stature, unprepossessing of character, and was able to draw the absolute best out of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra last night when they played Handel’s Water Music, Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto and Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony. Does it help that he is 32-year director of San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and has been awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for music services? Not really.
At some point earlier in the week, guest conductor Nicholas had to stand up before a group of total strangers, each an expert in playing these pieces. With a mere eight rehearsal hours, he had to weld them into a unit that would perform this music his way. And from the moment he raised his hands at the podium, his mastery methods became evident. Nicholas McGeghan completely enjoyed this music and these musicians. It was obvious to everyone in the hall that there was no other place on this planet Maestro McGeghan wanted to be. His gestures were unconventional. He used no baton. But his sheer joy contagiously radiated throughout the hall. Of course the NJSO musicians followed suit. Nicholas’ enthusiasm was irresistible….Leadership lesson #1, I noted.
After the performance I chatted briefly with a couple of the musicians concerning their guest conductor. Both agreed that this Cambridge and Oxford educated professor held an exceptional gift for articulating exactly what he wanted, in a way that they all understood. I have been able to experience this Leadership lesson #2 at work under the direction of Mr. Noel Werner, music director of the Nassau Presbyterian church choir. Noel employs a humorous verbal precision to steer our vocality away from “the Carol Channing flat aya” and “the sonorous Kentucky hills RRR,” onto the exact tones he requires. The more precisely and comprehensibly you can articulate what you want, the more likely you are to get it.
Ten cents of my own money says that lessons #1 and #2 just might apply to the leadership of my own ventures.
Wishing you Every Success,
– Bart Jackson