After graduating from Michigan, I needed a job. And I also wanted to get my American citizenship. So I accepted a teaching position at what I thought was a quaint New England small-town school, the Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich, CT. I had no idea that this school’s students were from some of the most affluent families in America. I was blown away by the amount of wealth in this little Connecticut town. But I took advantage of my posh surroundings and got the Headmaster of the school to sponsor my citizenship.
I made many friends during three enjoyable years at Greenwich Country Day. I still run into my students every so often, especially on Facebook. It’s always a little disconcerting to hear those words “Hey Mr. Winkler!”
Student Teaching in Ann Arbor, MI – 1981
The Greenwich Country Day School Chorus
Here is a recording of a Christmas concert at Greenwich Country Day in 1983. At the time, there were not many Jews in Greenwich CT. So, naturally, I stuck a Hanukkah song into the program. I don’t think most of the parents knew what to think of it. Bottom-line, the kids seemed to like it. But it was daring for Greenwich in the early eighties.
A Gifted Student
There are very few boys who, at the age of12. might be deemed a good singer. Well, Stephen Whitmore was not a just good singer, he was exceptional. A boy soprano who, to this day, I have not heard the equal. It was an honor to have been his teacher, and in this video, he sings a vocalise by Gabriel Faure. To make this a challenge for Stephen, I arranged it so that he had to hit many high notes which would be treacherous even for Joan Sutherland. An example is the high F above high C at the 3:27 mark. This piece requires a nearly 3-octave range, and with Stephen’s natural technique and breathing, he makes it look like child’s play.
Opening scene from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The last musical I directed at Greenwich Country Day School.
The Greenwich Musical Theater Group
I formed “The Greenwich Theater Group” in the summer of 1985 for kids. In the picture to the right are some of my students and Kathi Moss who was one of the leads in the Broadway musical “Nine” (her character sings “Be Italian”).
Being congratulated by headmaster at last choral concert performed by the Middle School of The Greenwich Country Day School.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” performed by the Upper School of The Greenwich Country Day School.