A Liberal Education

A Liberal Education
By Robert Livingstone, Foreword by Michael Leppert

The following is an essay taken from the 1955 edition of the Great Books Primer, published by the Great Books Foundation. I found the Primer at a “Friends of the Library” sale for a quarter! As a homeschooling father, I have been constantly striving to increase my knowledge and intellectual understanding. I feel I owe it to my son to make the attempt, even if I fail on occasion. Many homeschooling parents feel the same way and my question is: “Why shouldn’t everyone?”

I wanted to share this essay with you because without intending to, Mr. Livingstone cogently analyzes the negative condition — and therefore, the beginnings of a solution — to what I feel is a modern American tragedy: The comfortably-accepted idea that “average” people should be consumers, but not thinkers; breadwinners, but not philosophers; workers, but without the expectation of possessing a fully-functioning brain. When I was in high school, I did not understand why it was accepted that the blue-collar, factory-working fathers and the white-collar office-working people, could come home from work night after night, sit in front of the tube after dinner until sleep overcame them, and then stumble off to bed. They read only the newspaper — never a book.

Read More:

http://www.homeschoolnewslink.com/homeschool/articles/vol9iss2/v9i2_liberaleducation.shtml

Utopia School, Utopia, OH

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Utopia School

U. S. Hwy. 52

Utopia, OH

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Utopia is an unincorporated community in far southern Franklin Township, Clermont County, Ohio, along the banks of the Ohio River. Utopia has been referred to as a “ghost town,” but it is not a true ghost town because there are still people who live there, on the two streets which make up the town–both of which dead-end at the northern banks of the Ohio River.  Utopia was founded in 1844 by Charles Fourier, a French guy who was a member of a religious sect which believed that the world was about to enter a 35,000-year period of peace, and that people would be organized into “phalanxes”–something like the communes hippies like to live in. He also believed that the oceans would turn into lemonade. Fourier’s writings inspired his readers to create their own utopian society — hence the name “Utopia.”  Within three years, the community broke up. The land that was owned by the sect was then sold to John O. Wattles, the leader of another group of Spiritualists, but that settlement was destroyed in the flood of December 13, 1847. It was soon reorganized as an individualist anarchist colony by Josiah Warren and associates, who established a small cooperative community that could still carry out functions like the outside world.  What was once the last one room schoolhouse, Franklin Twp. No. 13, off of U.S. Route 52 west of town, is now a restored private residence.

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http://clermontcountyohiooldschool.blogspot.com/

http://www.forgottenoh.com/Utopia/utopia.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia,_Ohio

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/562950022144868782/

Zdenek Fibich and the Comenius Festival Overture

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Zdeněk Fibich (December 21, 1850 –October 15, 1900) was a Czech composer of classical music, among whose compositions are chamber works (including two string quartets, a piano trio, piano quartet and a quintet for piano, strings and winds), symphonic poems, three symphonies, at least seven operas (the most famous probably Šárka and The Bride of Messina), melodramas including the substantial trilogy Hippodamia, liturgical music including a mass – a missa brevis; and a large cycle (almost 400 pieces, from the 1890s) of piano works called Moods, Impressions, and Reminiscences, the last of which served as a diary of sorts of his love for a piano pupil. Fibich was born on December 21, 1850, in Všebořice (Šebořice) near Čáslav, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later moved to Liban. Fibich’s father was a Czech forestry official and the composer’s early life was spent on various wooded estates of the nobleman for whom his father worked. All his life he retained a love of nature. His mother, however, was a cultured, ethnic German Viennese. Home schooled by his mother, who also taught him piano, until the age of nine, he was then referred to a local priest, Frantisek Cerny, for studies in music theory.   He was first sent to a German-speaking gymnasium in Vienna for two years before attending a Czech-speaking private gymnasium in Prague where he stayed until he was 15.  By the end of his schooling, Fibich had written over 50 compositions. Most were piano pieces and songs, but some were more ambitious, including an attempt at music for the final part of Romeo and Juliet and a symphony sketched out on four open staves.

After this, in 1865 Fibich was sent to the Leipzig Conservatory where he remained for three years studying piano with Ignaz Moscheles and composition with Salomon Jadassohn and Ernst Richter. After the better part of a year in Paris, Fibich concluded his studies with Vinzenz Lachner (the younger brother of Franz and Ignaz Lachner) in Mannheim. He returned to Bohemia in 1870 and spent the next few years living with his parents back in Prague where he began composing full-time and p ro duced his first opera Bukovina, based on a libretto of Karel Sabina, the librettist of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride. In 1873, at the age of 23, he married Růžena Hanušová and took up residence in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius. where he had obtained a position of choirmaster. His tone poem of that year, Zaboj, Slavoj, and Ludek, deeply influenced Smetana’s nascent Má Vlast.After spending two personally unhappy years there when his wife and newly born twins both died in Vilnius, he returned to Prague in 1874 and remained there until his death.

Fibich was given a bi-cultural education, living during his formative early years in Germany, France, and Austria in addition to his native Bohemia. He was fluent in German as well as Czech. In his instrumental works, Fibich generally wrote in the vein of the German romantics, first falling under the influence of Weber, Mendelssohn and Schumann and later Wagner. His early operas and close to 200 of his early songs are in German. These works along with his symphonies and chamber music won considerable praise from German critics, though not from Czechs. The bulk of Fibich’s operas are in Czech, although many are based on non-Czech sources such as Shakespeare, Schiller, and Byron. In his chamber music, more than anywhere else, Fibich makes use of Bohemian folk melodies and dance rhythms such as the dumka. Fibich was the first to write a Czech nationalist tone poem (Záboj, Slavoj a Luděk) which served as the inspiration for Smetana’s Má vlast. He was also the first to use the polka in a chamber work, his quartet in A.

In 1875 Fibich married Růžena’s sister, the operatic contralto Betty Fibichová (née Hanušová).  They had a son, Richard, in 1876. This baby survived. Fibich took a job at the Provisional Theater in Prague, but finding that his theatrical duties took him away from composition, he gave them up in favor of a position at the Russian Orthodox Church in Prague in 1878. He wrote a fairly successful opera, Blanik, and became interested in the unusual musical form of the melodrama. He came to be one of the most successful composers in that genre.  In 1881 Fibich resigned from his church position and devoted himself full-time to composing and teaching. Anežka Schulzová wrote the libretti for all the last four of his later operas including Šárka (1897), about a Czech female military leader which was his most successful work, in part due to its patriotic theme, and also served as the inspiration for his Moods, Impressions, and Reminiscences, composed between 1891 and 1899.   Miss Schulzova was a singer and a well-read young woman who directed Fibich toward texts with a feminist orientation.

After his return to Prague, Fibich’s music encountered severely negative reactions in the Prague musical community, stemming from his (and Smetana’s) adherence to Richard Wagner’s theories on opera. While Smetana’s later career was plagued with problems for presenting Wagnerian-style music dramas in Czech before a conservative audience, Fibich’s pugilistic music criticism, not to mention his overtly Wagnerian later operas, Hedy, Šárka, and Pád Arkuna, exacerbated the problem in the years after Smetana’s death in 1884. Together with the music aesthetician Otakar Hostinský, he was ostracized from the musical establishment at the National Theatre and Prague Conservatory and forced to rely on his private composition studio. The studio nevertheless was well respected among students, drawing such names as Emanuel Chvála, Karel Kovařovic, Otakar Ostrčil, and Zdeněk Nejedlý, the well-known critic and subsequent politician.  In 1899 he returned to a position as producer at the Provisional Theater, now called the National Theater. He died unexpectedly of a kidney infection in Prague on October 15, 1900.

Fibich was the third of the leading Czech composers of the last half of the nineteenth century, after Smetana and Dvorák. His music is strongly Romantic and often intensely personal. Less nationalistic than was fashionable for much of his later life and early posterity, his works have only recently begun to meet a revival of interest.  That Fibich is far less known than either Antonín Dvořák or Bedřich Smetana can be explained by the fact that he lived during the rise of Czech nationalism within the Hapsburg Empire. While Smetana and Dvořák gave themselves over entirely to the national cause, consciously writing Czech music with which the emerging nation strongly identified, Fibich’s position was more ambivalent. This was due to the background of his parents and to his education.  Much of the reception of Fibich’s music in the early twentieth century is a result of these students’ efforts after their teacher’s death, especially in Nejedlý’s highly campaigns enacted in a series of monographs and articles that sought to redress what he considered to be past inequities.

My collection includes the following works by Zdenek Fibich:

Comenius Festival Overture (1892).

The Great Musical Monograph of the Building of the National Theatre—Tableau Vivant (1881).

Hedy—Opera, op. 43 (1895): Ballet Music.

Hippodamia’s Death—Melodrama, op. 33 (1891): March.

The Jew of Prague—Tragedy (1871): Overture.

Music for the Celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Birth of Jan Amos Comenius—Tableau Vivant (1892).

Music for the Reopening of the National Theatre—Tableau Vivant (1883).

A Night in Karlstejn Castle (1886): Overture.

Prologue to the Opening of the New Czech Theatre—Tableau Vivant (1876).

Cy Coleman and Sweet Charity Overture

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Cy (Seymour Kaufman) Coleman (June 14, 1929 – November 18, 2004) was an American composer, songwriter, and jazz pianist.  Coleman was born Seymour Kaufman on June 14, 1929, in New York City to Eastern European Jewish parents, and was raised in the Bronx. His mother, Ida (née Prizent) was an apartment landlady and his father was a brickmason.   He was a child prodigy who gave piano recitals at venues such as Steinway Hall, the Town Hall, and Carnegie Hall between the ages of six and nine.  Coleman studied at New York’s The High School of Music and Art and the New York College of Music, graduating in 1948.  Before beginning his fabled Broadway career, he led the Cy Coleman Trio, which made many recordings and was a much-in-demand club attraction.

Despite the early classical and jazz success, Coleman decided to build a career in popular music. His first collaborator was Joseph Allen McCarthy, but his most successful early partnership, albeit a turbulent one, was with Carolyn Leigh. The pair wrote many pop hits, including “Witchcraft” and “The Best Is Yet to Come.” One of his instrumentals, “Playboy’s Theme,” became the signature music of the regular syndicated late night TV show Playboy After Dark in the 1960s and specials presented by editor/publisher Hugh M. Hefner of Playboy magazine, and remains synonymous with the Chicago magazine and its creator, Hefner.

Coleman’s career as a Broadway composer began when he and Leigh collaborated on Wildcat (1960), which marked the Broadway debut of movie/television comedianne Lucille Ball. The score included the hit tune “Hey, Look Me Over.” When Ball became ill, she left the show, and it closed. Next for the two was Little Me, with a book by Neil Simon based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Dennis. The show introduced “Real Live Girl” and “I’ve Got Your Number,” which became popular standards.

In 1964, Coleman met Dorothy Fields at a party, and when he asked if she would like to collaborate with him, she is reported to have answered, “Thank God somebody asked.”  Fields was revitalized by working with the much younger Coleman, and by the contemporary nature of their first project, which was Sweet Charity, again with a book by Simon, starring Gwen Verdon, and introducing the songs “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” “I’m a Brass Band,” and “Big Spender.”  The show was a major success and Coleman found working with Fields much easier than with Leigh. The partnership was to work on two more shows – an aborted project about Eleanor Roosevelt, and Seesaw which reached Broadway in 1973 after a troubled out-of-town tour. Despite mixed reviews, the show enjoyed a healthy run. The partnership was cut short by Fields’ death in 1974.

Coleman remained prolific in the late 1970s. He collaborated on I Love My Wife (1977) with Michael Stewart, On The Twentieth Century (1978) with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and Home Again, Home Again with Barbara Fried, although the latter never reached Broadway. Also in 1970 he produced the single “Lying Here” (Mercury 73150) for the Rock Opera “Sensations,” and took a full page (back cover) ad in Billboard magazine to promote his upcoming star vocalist Steve Leeds singing.

In 1980, Coleman served as producer and composer for the circus-themed Barnum, which co-starred Jim Dale and Glenn Close. Later in the decade, he collaborated on Welcome to the Club (1988) with A. E. Hotchner, and City of Angels (1989) with David Zippel. In the latter, inspired by the hard-boiled detective film noir of the 1930s and 1940s, he returned to his jazz roots, and the show was a huge critical and commercial success. The 1990s brought more new Coleman musicals to Broadway: The Will Rogers Follies (1991), again with Comden and Green, The Life (1997), a gritty look at pimps, prostitutes, and assorted other lowlife in the big city, with Ira Gasman, and a revised production of Little Me.

Coleman’s film scores include Father Goose, The Art of Love, Garbo Talks, Power, and Family Business.  In addition, he wrote memorable television specials for Shirley MacLaine, If My Friends Could See Me Now and Gypsy in My Soul.  Coleman has been the only composer to win consecutive Tony awards for Best Score at the same time that the corresponding musicals won for Best Musical: City of Angels and Will Rogers’ Follies. Coleman was on the ASCAP Board of Directors for many years and also served as their Vice Chairman Writer.

One final musical with a Coleman score played in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum Dec. 2003-Jan. 2004 under the title Like Jazz, as a Broadway tryout.  Investor Transamerica Capital went forward with plans to mount a Broadway production renamed In the Pocket. Dirk Decloedt and Maurice Hines were announced as director and choreographer with an anticipated opening in Spring 2006 but it never opened.  To the very end, he was part of the Broadway scene – he attended the premiere of Michael Frayn’s new play Democracy early in the evening on November 18. Coleman died of cardiac arrest on November 18, 2004, at New York Hospital in New York City, NY, at 11:59 p.m. at the age of 75, survived by his wife, Shelby (née Brown) Coleman and their adopted daughter, Lily Cye Coleman.

The following work by Cy Coleman is contained in my collection:

Sweet Charity (1966): Overture.

Why would homeschoolers need tight regulations?

Why would homeschoolers need tight regulations?
by Henry Cate of Why Homeschool (Monday, March 26, 2012)

Many states loose on homeschooling regulations is an OK article about homeschooling. It covers the basics of homeschooling. It discusses the laws in Ohio where parents just have to notify that they will be homeschooling their children.

But the article has implied call to “fix” homeschooling in Ohio. I have a problem with the comparison of public schools to homeschools. The article starts with:

“With ever-tougher academic standards coming from both state and federal legislatures, schools are under unprecedented, increasing pressure to perform well on a variety of measures, including mandatory testing and more rigorous teacher evaluations.”

Read more:

http://whyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-would-homeschoolers-need-tight.html

Oakdale School, Loyston, TN

oakdale loyston

Oakdale School

Loyston, TN

Loyston is a ghost town in Union County, Tennessee, that was inundated by the waters of the Clinch River after the completion of Norris Dam in 1936.  Established in the early nineteenth century around a foundry built by its namesake, John Loy, over subsequent decades the community’s location along State Highway 61 helped it grow into a trading center for local farmers. Loyston’s children attended either Loyston Elementary School or the nearby one-room Oakdale School.  By the time the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began making plans to build Norris Dam in the early 1930s, Loyston had a population of approximately 70 residents, and consisted of a post office and several small businesses.  Prior to inundation, TVA conducted extensive sociological surveys of Loyston’s residents, and the community was documented by photographer Lewis Hine, including the Oakdale School. Most of Loyston’s residents relocated elsewhere in the area, with many forming the community of New Loyston in the hills to the south. Loyston was located near where Mill Creek empties into the Clinch River, at river mile 98. Loyston is now under a mile-wide section of Norris Lake known as the “Loyston Sea,” located along the shores of Big Ridge State Park. In 2008, the Museum of Appalachia accepted a donation of a children’s playhouse that originally stood in Loyston and was said to be the last intact building from the community.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyston,_Tennessee

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/532647

Peter Bodge and the George M. Cohan Medley

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Peter Bodge is or was an American music arranger who served as a ‘house arranger’ for the Boston Pops Orchestra and Arthur Fiedler. On July 3, 1945, Leroy Anderson conducted the “Army Night” concert of the BPO at Symphony Hall. He conducted “Field Artillery March” by Sousa, “Overture to Light Calvery” by von Suppé, Scherzo from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Mendelssohn, the Finale from “Symphony No. 4” by Tchaikovsky, “Wine, Woman and Song” waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr., Anderson’s own works “Jazz Pizzicato,” “Jazz Legato,” “Promenade,” and  the “Salute to Our Fighting Forces” arranged by Peter Bodge.  Other Bodge arrangements include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Fantasy (after Churchill); America Sings; Song Fest (Pack Up Your Troubles, Smiles, Till We Meet Again, In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree, My Wild Irish Rose, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Sweet Adeline, Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet, There Is A Tavern In The Town, Maine Stein Song, Let Me Call You Sweetheart); and the George M. Cohan Medley.

An arrangement of the ballet Les Sylphides with music of Chopin was jointly made in the 1940s by the Boston Pops ‘house arrangers’ Leroy Anderson and Peter Bodge.   It was recorded in 1946 by that orchestra under conductor Arthur Fiedler, initially on 78s and reissued later on L.P.  “The Glow Worm Turns” is a satirical morsel of nonsense by Peter Bodge, one-time ‘house arranger’ for the Boston Pops. It’s based on Paul Lincke’s popular number “The Glow Worm” and humorously quotes from works by Richard Strauss, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Johann Strauss. It comes from a 1950s L.P. entitled “The Family All Together.”  There is a Jazz Artist, Jazz Historian, and Jazz Musician named Peter Bodge, born at Lawrence, MA, in 1937, who taught Art in Public Schools on both coasts, for 33 years, but he is undoubtedly not the Boston Pops arranger.

My collection includes the following work by Peter Bodge:

George M. Cohan Medley.