Sunday, November 06, 2005
Mentors and Friendships: John Dickson
After Thursday's Collegiate Choral Festival, Dr. Dickson and I had a meal together and eventually landed at the Brio restaurant. Those who know me know that I am a big fan of BRIO and try to get there whenever possible.
We had a marvelous conversation and connected again on a number of levels. John Dickson is a special guy, if you can't tell from your brief experience with him on Thursday. He is intensely spiritual and deeply passionate about art, poetry, choral music, and family.
Over the years, we have forged a very honest and heartfelt relationship. That is not to say that we agree on everything . . . like most every other music teacher/professor I know, he typically aligns himself with the wrong side.
He said wonderful things about your singing and I will share more with you in rehearsal. His work with you was excellent, albeit brief. He called us one of the 'top undergraduate choirs in the country' . . . once after we sang and to me personally over a glass of wine. Wasn't that an incredible thing to hear?
I always enjoy positive comments, but I've learned that it is a mistake to let them define you. If your image is built on what people say, then you are ceding all of the power of your self-image to another. You are also tempted to "believe" what people say about you, and that begins to create its own problems.
Know this: much of the instruction you get from me comes from Dr. Dickson. He taught me how important it is to feel the work you are doing . . . to let it inhabit you and change you. We've already experienced some of that this year . . . and I'm sure we will again. If you say your prayers tonight, toss one up for Dr. Dickson . . . make it a prayer of thanksgiving for wonderful teachers that invest themselves fully into their lives, their professions, and their students.