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Francia Rahiman is a senior at Schenectady High

Students find their 'Morning Muse' in library

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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Francia Rahiman
Francia Rahiman

Isn’t it ironic how there’s music coming from the library, the one place where you’re constantly told to be quiet?

Well, that’s the idea behind Schenectady High School’s The Morning Muse series, which made its debut this year on the morning of Sept. 16, with Chris Dobson on keyboard, Adrian Dudnauth on bass, Pat Brehm on drums and Doug Stefaniak on guitar. They performed a few jazz pieces in the library that morning.

The idea of The Morning Muse originated from Ms. Colleen Wygal, an English teacher here at the high school.

This all started towards the end of last year. Ms. Wygal teaches English 12 IB and noticed that some of her talented students didn’t have a way to show their talents because they were so busy with the rigorous IB work. One of her students from last year, a talented jazz pianist, Sam Lehrman, and Ms. Wygal thought it would be fun for him to play in the library in the morning for his friends, and he did.

That was the initial spark for the idea. Ms. Wygal also has a love and passion for music.

In her FA Seminar class, she was reading a book with her students called “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink, which talked about new ways of learning and using different senses to learn. One specific way was called “play,” which intrigued the class. They went to the library to discuss different ways of learning by “playing.”

In order to set up The Morning Muse series, the space in the library had to be reconfigured in such a way that would change the atmosphere in the library while at the same time improving school morale. They are still in the process of making the library “a more usable space and a more community-centered atmosphere,” Ms. Wygal said.

When asked if it was difficult to balance all of the tasks she was involved in, Ms. Wygal responded, “I think it actually motivates me more than anything else just seeing everybody in there, smiling on those mornings and working really hard just because they want to ‘play,’ in that sense.”

Ms. Wygal also goes on to say “it motivates me more to do more, so it’s not exhausting. It actually sparks more energy and makes me want to work harder in all my classes.”

There was a big turnout for the first Friday morning show this year. Ms. Wygal says the response was overwhelming, not just from students, but also from teachers. It gives them a chance to sit back and be exposed to new music, both from students and teachers.

She hopes The Morning Muse will evolve into more than just music but maybe also spoken word on another day of the week. They will eventually attempt to have shows after school as well.

Ms. Wygal credits Mr. Gleason in providing and searching for talent and Mrs. Witcher for scheduling the acts. She is also happy that a lot of people have jumped on board with the idea.

 
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