Meet Mike Salvatore, Chair of the Arts Department, music coordinator, and choral director.
Q: What drew you to Fenn nineteen years ago?
A: I saw an ad in the Globe. Amy and I came for a walk in Concord to check it out. She said, “Gee, I could see you teaching here.” I was hooked. I like it so much that I left for three years and then returned.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching at Fenn?
A: My colleagues, the supportive administration, and the boys who represent a wide developmental span. I also love seeing how the boys respond to the arts and to any creative endeavors.
Q: What is most important to you in your work here?
A: When directing the Trebles and Voicecrack and teaching music classes I teach, I emphasize the importance of repetition and precision. Live performance is a really interesting, sometimes scary, and often exciting experience.
Q: What do you hope the boys will come away with after being in your classes?
A: An understanding that music doesn’t just happen. There is hard work, language processing, emotion, bravery, precision, and logic involved. I also hope they develop an appreciation for a wide range of musical styles, certainly classical, jazz, international, and folk, but also popular music. There is a ton of great popular music being written now. I think the internet has allowed music to develop and cross pollinate in truly interesting and terrific ways over the last ten to fifteen years.
Q: What are your passions and interests outside of teaching?
A: The outdoors. We hike in the Adirondacks and are working on climbing all forty-six of the highest peaks. I enjoy fly fishing from and rowing in my Adirondack guide boat. I’ve developed a love of downhill skiing, due in large part to long term friendships forged with Fenn colleagues. I also have a passion for history and architecture; we have a c. 1740 house, portions of which purportedly date back to the late 1600s. I am president of the historic Hartshorne House Association in Wakefield and chair of the Wakefield Cultural Council. I am music director at an Episcopal church and sing in an auditioned choir that sings Anglican choral evensong several times a year. And I have recently developed an interest in oysters—comparing the taste of each variety and learning to shuck them myself without losing a digit!
A; Our daughter, Helen, was born when my wife, Amy, and I were both teaching at Fenn. (Amy taught sixth grade Integrated Studies, ninth grade English, advised the art and literature magazine, tutored, and organized the Cultural Arts Festival. She now chairs the English department and teaches at Pike.) Helen is about to graduate. Time flies!