Besides assigning homework, coaching athletic teams, and providing late-night feeds, several faculty members also possess musical and artistic talents.
Though she works in the admissions office, Ms. Allison DiNardo has had experience in the arts. “I explored both visual and performing arts in college and was an AP visual arts student in high school. I developed a passion for oil paintings in my free time and sang in an a capella group in college,” Mrs. DiNardo said. She explained that she has continued to create art in her free time at Deerfield: “I have found that painting is a wonderful outlet and is a very calming part of my day.”
In addition to visual arts, several faculty members are also active in the performing arts. Mr. Peter Nilsson, an English teacher, has been playing piano for several years. “When I was in college I was a double major: music composition and English. When I graduated, I came here as a teaching fellow in English, but I decided that if I never went to New York to play music I would regret it. So I moved to New York for four years and had a wonderful time playing in jazz bands, funk trios, and recording. I even helped write a one-woman play,” Mr. Nilsson said. Like all members of the Deerfield community, balancing something as time consuming as an instrument can be stressful; yet, Mr. Nilsson added with a smile, “I am definitely a happier and better person on any day that I can play some music.”
One group that brings together many faculty members is known as the Faculty Band, who rehearse together weekly and perform for students occasionally. Though the member list changes depending on the teachers, the most recent members are Dr. Dennis Cullinane, Mr. John Van Eps, Mr. Darnel Barnes, Ms. Cheri Karbon, Ms. Amy Lareau, Mr. David Dickinson, and Mr. Harcourt, who plays lead guitar.
“I played music when I was in junior high and high school; I played rock and roll,” Mr. Harcourt said. “It’s always been an interest of mine, and when I got here, I found a number of faculty members who had also played in bands when they were kids, and so we got together in 1980. I love having fun with my colleagues, and though we teach in different departments, when we get together to play music it is pure fun for us.” He also agrees how powerful and important music is: “There’s no pressure, it’s not a competition.”
All of the faculty who were interviewed encouraged Deerfield students to try and become part of the program regardless of experience.
“I hope Deerfield students are never afraid to explore the visual or performing arts, even if it hasn’t been a passion in the past; this is a great time to give it a shot,” concluded Mr. Nilsson.