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Leaves: Our Traditions

This topic celebrates the many unique experiences we had as Kirkland students.  One delightful example is:

Acceptance Letters

Future topics might cover:

  • The Kirkland Assembly
  • Our Unique Diplomas
  • Student-run organizations:  Coffee House, Art Co-op, Food Co-op and more
  • Hardhats
  • Particulars and other publications
  • The Significance of Apples

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sam Babbitt permalink
    April 25, 2010 1:32 pm

    The other day I sent a Birthday Card to Jesse Zellner (he’s 70, for heaven’s sake!), and in his reply, he mentioned The Contra Musica. The Contra Musica was a short-lived string ensemble which was born in the Babbitt living room on Harding Road at least a year before the college opened. It consisted of Carl Schneider on the violin, Carole Walker as second violin, Natalie Babbitt on viola, and myself on the cello. We were sometimes joined by Juan Freudenthal on violin. It is important to note that Carl Schneider was the only one of us who could seriously claim to “play” his instrument. Carole was a decent amateur, and Juan was quite good. Natalie could read music, but had never played a stringed instrument, and I could never really read music, and had never played a cello, though I did have a singer’s ear.
    Nonetheless, we were filled with enthusiasm and occasionally with delight when we all hit the right notes at the same time. As I recall, our best number was “Drink to me only with Thine Eyes”, which has a splendid bass (i.e. cello) line.
    We used to meet on Sundays at our house and practice while drinking tea and munching butter-soaked english muffins.
    I suppose we would have gone on this way – though the demands of the college, once it opened, had a tendency to eat up “spare” time. But when Christmas approached in the 1968-69 year, and we began to plan a holiday party to be held for everyone in the MacIntosh dorm, the members of the Contra Musica determined that we would come out of the closet.
    You will recall that there was a seminar room in those dorms – a glassed-in room next to the first-floor lounge. As the party got underway, we came in and ostentatiously placed our instruments in that room. Then, at a prescribed time, we went in, closed the door, and warmed up. Onlookers – being unable to hear us – were obviously impressed. “Such a talented faculty and administration!” , they were thinking. Then we filed out, faces straight and serious. An announcement was made that we would now play, and the crowd went respectfully silent.
    It took about five bars of music before the first titters began, and then there was an explosion of laughter as we found it impossible to keep our demeanor. Our secret was out: we were REALLY bad.
    But we had fun, and if it helped to break down any lingering false distance between our new Kirkland learners and the older ones – that was all to the good. The other good part was that the Contra Musica never played again in public.

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