Stringing my Life Together: Purishpa takini, takishpa purini.

Getting “oriented” & Brock McElheran
2008/09/25, 05:29
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ll try to make this one quick in the interest of hitting the sack at a semi-decent time.

Today there were a bunch of activities to help further “orient” the other graduate students and myself.  Meeting in the morning…chatting with some over lunch…diagnostic exam…chatting over loud music and good food at the reception.  Overall I really enjoyed getting to know my cohort (the 6 others that there are besides me!) along with seeing other people from the previous orientation and meeting a couple more.

My first class is tomorrow.  I think we all had the jitters today.  The departmental orientation was pretty much, “We’re glad to have you here!  Don’t screw up!”  Hah.

So as I was skimming to see some friends that were online, I noticed that someone had posted RIP Brock.

I checked the Potsdam website, and sure enough, Brock McElheran passed away yesterday.

My personal experiences with Brock were fleeting, infrequent, but still impressionable.  When I was a freshman, he conducted a concert of a Mozart piano concerto with a guest player whom he met in Canada.  She lived near him in their apartment complex and he admired her practicing.  He went to her door and asked her if she was playing piano, and she was quick to apologize for having disturbed him.  I remember the way he told the story so well, and he laughed about how he wasn’t trying to get her to be quiet, he actually wanted to listen to her more.  When Brock conducted the CSO, his eye sight was poor enough where he conducted all of the movements by memory; his fragile frame standing on the podium conducting us with minimum movements, but still expressively!  I was astounded during rehearsals with him.  Despite his small, unassuming frame, he was sharp and witty and warm.  You could have heard a pin drop during the rehearsals.

The next few years, I would see him usually at concerts with his wife, Janie.  No matter the time or the inclement weather (and trust me, there was plenty of that in Potsdam), Brock and Janie made it to virtually all of the major ensemble concerts and visiting artists.  They would usually sit towards the back and Janie would read what was next on the program to Brock between pieces.

Even in such indirect moments as those described above, I can say I learned lessons about true dedication and passion, appreciation of music and the arts, and a love for others.  Brock is one of the professors and (for lack of a better term) Crane “celebrities” that have really inspired me and made me proud for having chosen Crane for my undergraduate school.

Below, Brock is pictured with my Lit & Style III professor, Nelly Case.


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