By Cookie Chang
At St. John’s, Friday Night Lecture is a tradition. The Friday Night Lecture series includes a wide variety of different topics, subjects, and even forms! For example, in just the last two weeks, we had two great but very different events in the Friday Night Lecture Slot.
Two Fridays ago, Friday Night “Lecture” was actually a concert, by a group called Nordic Voices After seeing the flyers around campus for a while, I decided to go even though I had no idea what they were going to perform. I went in with no expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised by what saw. This Friday Night Lecture slot was a special treat for us since most of the student population seem to enjoy the musical performances, and this is a group that we have never heard before but were very delighted that they decided to come to St. John’s. Nordic Voices is an ensemble that consists of six members in various vocal ranges, from Bass to Soprano, and their musical selection ranged from Norwegian folksongs to classical music. There were a couple of pieces that caught me by surprise, most notably, “Two Lovers.” This piece was arranged with multiple elements, from the tinkling of bells, to mellow triangles, to the beautiful harmonizing of the various voices. I suppose what was beautiful for me was the way the vocal harmonies blended with the sound of the bells to create an environment of peace, yet slight melancholy. Since studying music my sophomore year, I have been interested in going to more musical concerts, since it is good practice to pick out elements of music that we have been studying this year. There is an air of aestheticism that flowed throughout this concert, which left me with a pleasant, yet thoughtful evening
Last Friday we were back to actual lectures. But even though last week’s event was a more typical Friday Night Lecture, it felt a little out of the ordinary. was very special to have the Dean from Santa Fe to be able to come over to Annapolis to speak with us. Mr. Davis’ lecture on Friday on Benjamin Franklin’s memoir, Autobiography, was a refreshing take on Franklin’s perspective of his own life. One thing memorable that I remember Mr. Davis speaking to that captured his character was his description of Franklin’s disdain for George Whitefield, who was a preacher that had serious ideological differences with Franklin. Through Mr. Davis’s analysis and narration of Franklin’s life, I learned many of his quirks, for example, his knack for creating Newsletters and his interest for the printing press. It was a pleasant evening, where most students and staff members seemed to enjoy his insightful interpretation of Autobiography.
Friday Night Lecture is definitely a unique institution. St. John’s tutors speak about various topics, we have had guest lecturers come speak (like Lydia Polgreen, alumni and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post), we have had musical performances (like the Parker Quartet), and even performances by our very own King William’s Players! The possibilities seem endless in terms of what the College has in store for us.