Idyllwild Arts: Perfect Fit

Published : Friday, August 11, 2017 | 2:22 PM

“I only attended UC Santa Cruz for two years. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t concentrate.”

Yet Maygen Sandrini has found concentrating to be easy enough during her four years of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at Idyllwild Arts Academy, another place where excessive natural beauty could get in the way. Perhaps the difference is explained by the maturity she gained by completing her B.A. at the University of Redlands and then working a variety of jobs in both Northern and Southern California.

“I had a job in the Bay Area that taught me how to fit anyone into a sports bra over the phone.”

A niche skill, even more so than the operatic singing for which she’d trained her mezzo voice in college while also studying literature.

“Then I discovered that my singing sucked. I’d grown up in the choir of Idyllwild Community Presbyterian Church, so it seemed like a natural goal until I learned that I’m not a performer.”

The claim ignores the element of performance that is crucial to all good teaching, but its modesty is characteristic of Maygen. She’ll talk at length about how she loves the subject of ESL Literature and not having to teach to a standardized test, and how much she loves students like Sumi Onoe, of Japan, and Arsel Kalemoğlu, of Turkey, pictured here with her at graduation, this past May 20. She’ll talk about feeling “blessed” to teach them, how they “work so hard” and “even get way into Hamlet”—their last literary challenge before graduating to mainstream classes.

What’s missing is any hint that students love her in return, not only because of her own hard work but because the sense of being blessed communicates itself from good teachers to their students.

Mainstream Academy students can enjoy Maygen’s good teaching during her January Intermester Introduction to Opera class.

“I’ll teach whoever thinks they can stay awake. Sleeping is a big part of opera, you know!”


Idyllwild Arts, 52500 Temecula Road, Idyllwild, CA 92549-0038, (951) 659-2171 or visit








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