Glories of the West: Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums | YouTube

The glories of the West take many forms! This includes here in these United States, in this case in Colonial Williamsburg, the original capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia – “the Old Dominion,” the first colony in America settled by English settlers, in 1607, and a state with a rich history. Here we see the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums, performing in an important ceremony:

Graduation march of Johnny Shideler and Chris Hochella, corps members and friends for eight years. Recorded July 15, 2014, in a downpour.

The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums are not professional musicians; they are local schoolchildren who volunteer to play 18th century music in 18th century attire for the benefit of visitors and others. This is no light task! From their website:

The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums – also known as the Field Music of the Virginia State Garrison Regiment – carries forward the tradition of military music. Since 1958, visitors in The Revolutionary City have enjoyed the musical performances and experienced the history of America’s Revolution.

Colonial Williamsburg’s field musicians are drawn from a waiting list of young community applicants. Boys and girls begin their education in military music at age 10 and practice weekly for the next eight years, until after they have graduated from high school. These young people talk with the public about the role of music in the 18th-century military. They teach younger members the music and history lessons needed to continue the tradition of the field musicians.

The Fifes and Drums appear in more than 700 performances each year. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is justifiably proud of each of these truly remarkable young Americans, past and present. They have come to symbolize what is best about our community, our history, and our museum.

Nota Bene: “Boys and girls begin their education in military music at age 10 and practice weekly for the next eight years, until after they have graduated from high school. These young people talk with the public about the role of music in the 18th-century military.” The brief clip linked above is from the graduation march honouring two members who have “aged out” of the Fifes and Drums – and conducted in pouring rain, a mark of dedication if I have ever seen one!

For those who have liked what they’ve heard so far, here is a longer montage of performances by the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums:

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Education, the arts, metaphysics, and robber-barons – inspired by “I’ll Take My Stand”

https://i1.wp.com/solidarityhall.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/takemystand1.jpg?resize=202%2C300Here’s another excerpt from Donald Davidson’s essay, “A Mirror for Artists,” in I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930), with my thoughts inspired thereby, following:

“Education can do comparatively little to aid the cause of the arts as long as it must turn out graduates into an industrialized society which demands specialists in vocational, technical, and scientific subjects. The humanities, which could reasonably be expected to foster the arts, have fought a losing battle since the issue between vocational and liberal education was raised in the nineteenth century…’

“The more they indoctrinate the student with their values, the more unhappy they will make him. For he will be spoiled for the industrial tasks [and the same could be said of technology, or the “service economy”] by being rendered inefficient. He will not fit in. The more refined and intelligent he becomes, the more surely he will see in the material world the lack of the image of nobility and beauty that the humanities inculcate in him.”

Maybe this is the true reason that so many colleges and universities seem to be trying to re-envision themselves as glorified vocational schools! The proximate cause may be the (arguably laudable, on the face of it) desire by institutions of higher learning to make themselves more “relevant” and help their students get jobs with their diplomas.

But it may be that the ultimate cause is the desire of the puppeteers that pull the strings in so many aspects of society – the globalist, corporatist plutocrats, the vulture capitalists and profiteers, the robber-barons of the 21st century – to suppress aspirations toward the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in favor of their (un)holy trinity of Production, Consumption, and Profit.

It certainly would suit those whose goal in life is to make money by selling “stuff” (whether goods or services) to promote the creation of a society of mindless drones who are numbed by the technological equivalent of “bread and circuses” into a passive existence where getting said “stuff” and being entertained (mostly electronically, which doesn’t even require a person to leave the house) becomes the goal of an otherwise largely futile and nihilistic existence.

They certainly wouldn’t want people to be seriously wrestling with questions like “what is the Good?” or “how do we reach it?” or “what is the proper end of a human being?” Or struggling with attempting to discern the meaning of Truth, or which volitional (self-willed) acts of a human being are ethically virtuous, and which are ethically vicious. Or even grappling with the characteristics of genuine Beauty, and the relationship between and among Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, the classical Three Transcendentals.

Best not to even admit that there might be such a thing as transcendence. Certainly under no circumstances should they be led down trails which might lead them to the consideration that there may be some sort of actual, objective Divine Reality, outside the constraints of our physical-sensory universe (although in significant ways immanent within it) – and especially not one which is personal, concerned with humanity, and which has both plans for, and expectations of, us humans!

Human beings concerned about such matters would be lousy consumers of “stuff,” since they might begin to suspect that there may after all be higher aspirations which are, in the long run, more important…

The Glories of the West: “This is Germany,” from Love Germany

The glories of the West, as expressed in Germany! Need I say more…?

Okay, I’ll grant you, I’d have been happier if they’d used more glorious music than the modernistic electro-pap in the background… can’t have everything, I guess! 🙄 😏

Glories of the West: Beethoven – Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Hilary Hahn, violin)

More of the culture that “Europeans don’t have”….!

Spoiled leisure – from “I’ll Take My Stand”

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Here’s a thought to “cheer” your Saturday:

“It is common knowledge that, wherever it can be said to exist at all, the kind of leisure provided by industrialism is a dubious benefit. It helps nobody but merchants and manufacturers, who have taught us to use it in industriously consuming the products they make in great excess over the demand.

“Moreover, it is spoiled, as leisure, by the kind of work that industrialism compels. The furious pace of our working hours is carried over into our leisure hours, which are feverish and energetic. We live by the clock. Our days are a muddle of ‘activities,’ strenuously pursued. We do not have the free mind and easy temper that should characterize true leisure.

“Nor does the separation of our lives into two distinct parts, of which one is all labor – too often mechanical [whether literally or figuratively] and deadening – and the other all play, undertaken as a nervous relief, seem to be conducive to a harmonious life. The arts will not easily survive a condition under which we work and play at cross-purposes. We cannot separate our being into contradictory halves without a certain amount of spiritual damage.

“The leisure thus offered is really no leisure at all; either it is pure sloth, under which the arts take on the character of mere entertainment, purchased in boredom and enjoyed in utter passivity, or it is another kind of labor, taken up out of a sense of duty, pursed as a kind of fashionable enterprise in which one’s courage must be continually whipped up by reminders of one’s obligation to culture.”

— Davidson, Donald: “A Mirror for Artists,” I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930).

Is the worm turning for Britain? One can hope!

I am beginning to be guardedly optimistic that for Britain, the worm is turning at last. The decision by the British government to arrest, convict, and incarcerate Tommy Robinson – with what might be called, at the risk of understatement, unseemly haste – appears to have galvanized at least a significant segment of British society. The protests and calls for his release are growing larger and more numerous, with the rally in this video, which occurred earlier today, standing as the most recent example: thousands of people gathering in London itself.

To paraphrase the great Professor Tolkien, there is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the most peaceful and complacent Briton, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow. Perhaps the sudden realization, forced by Tommy Robinson’s arrest and immediate incarceration, of how close Britain is tottering toward the brink of totalitarianism and tyranny – that anyone could, for some reason deemed sufficient by the bureaucrats and politicians, be suddenly arrested and thrown into prison for expressing their views – is that “final and desperate danger,” for many Britons. I hope and pray it is, and for a sufficient number to do some good.

As an anglophilic Anglican – “The Anglophilic Anglican,” for the purposes of this blog – I bow to no one in my love of England, and Great Britain as a whole. But as I have previously stated, that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with some of the stances taken by its present government. With some, I disagree profoundly. And I am grateful to live in the United States, where the First Amendment of our Constitution protects – for now, at least – my freedom to say so. Sadly, some of my British friends are not so fortunate, having been warned that making their true feelings known on social media could lead to their arrest!

This, from the country which is the source of our understanding of rights and liberties. It’s sad, and it’s truly appalling. But I am, as I say, hopeful that at long last, the worm is beginning to turn, and the people of England and Britain are on the road toward beginning to take back their ancient liberties from the Left-leaning politicians, bureaucrats, and budding authoritarians that make up far too many of the present governments of Europe, not just Great Britain. If that happens, the unjust arrest and imprisonment of Tommy Robinson will have at least served some useful purpose!

History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of | LA Times

History isn't a 'useless' major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of

Why are college students turning away from studying history as preparation for a future as citizens and workers?

Source: History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of | LA Times

The humanities strike back!

Of course, the author feels that he has to defend history (and the humanities generally) as being excellent preparation for “real-world” careers such as business and technology – which they are, without question – rather than pointing out, except obliquely, their necessity for constructive thought and good citizenship in the polis, the public square, especially in a representative democratic-republican society which absolutely requires an informed citizenry. Nonetheless, this is an encouraging article.

While currently an almost minuscule proportion of degrees awarded – as this article points out – I am seeing the beginnings of a stir of push-back, as more and more people begin to realize, or promote, the idea that the humanities do, in fact, have value, both in themselves and for the way in which they teach people to think critically and constructively. I will never forget one of my favorite college professors noting that “the most important thing a college education can give you is a good crap detector.” He was and is correct!

With respect to history in particular, however: it does indeed teach critical thinking, and is valuable for that reason; but it also teaches vital content. As the inscription literally graven in stone above the entrance to the National Archives puts it, “What is past, is prologue.” Learning our history provides us with the tools to make sense of the present, and to shape a coherent and constructive course into the future. That we seem all-too-often incapable of doing either is an indictment of our willingness to abandon historical knowledge!

And of course, failure to learn our history cuts us off from our roots. As I have commented previously, a society is very like a great tree, in that if it is separated from its roots, it is far more likely to wither than to blossom and bring forth fruits and new growth. Indeed, one can say that that withering is absolutely inevitable – the question being not “if,” but only how quickly!

There is evidence that the pendulum is beginning to swing back in a more conservative / traditional direction, with respect to socio-political matters. Let us hope and pray that it swings back in the academy, as well.