Williamson Hall, Westminster College of the Ar...

Williamson Hall, Westminster Choir College ~ Image via Wikipedia

Dr. Charles Schisler was Dean of Westminster Choir College when I was a graduate student.  He was the best Dean on the planet!  Always so encouraging, attending nearly every recital and master class.

You can read about his many contributions to the college here.

The obituary appears here.

Dr. Schisler preferred to sit in the front row.  Although that could have felt intimidating, it wasn’t.  We all knew he was rooting for us.

When I auditioned for Westminster, he was there with other faculty, seated in the front row as usual.  Most of the proceedings went well.  And then he put some music in front of me to sight read.  Somehow, the piece happened to be the one thing I have the most trouble playing at sight ~ the slow movement of a Mozart violin sonata.  This one featured double-dotted long notes followed by 32nds.  Hard enough to count when not nervous.

So I played it.  After a page and 1/2, something clicked in my brain.  I suddenly realized the piece was in 2, and I had been playing in 3 the whole time.  So I switched!

Dr. Schisler rose from his chair, walked slowly to the piano, looked over my shoulder at the score, and said, “May we hear the first page again, please?”

Thanks for everything, and rest in peace.  All who knew you will miss you a great deal.

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