Pasadena Waldorf School: History Through Music

Pasadena Waldorf School (PWS) Eleventh grade recently participated in a very special main lesson block: History through Music, taught by the wonderful and talented Jeff Spade. Mr. Spade was kind enough to travel all the way from the Steiner School in New York City to teach the course, which examined the development of human consciousness and the correspondent changes in the form and function of music across the ages. Adorned in the snazziest and most colorful of New York fashions, Mr. Spade was a daily source of joy and music, unleashing waves of Gregorian chant and classical symphonies into the hallways before class.

The culmination of the course was La Soirée, an evening of student performances to exhibit their four weeks of musical study. The students performed a beautiful selection of choral arrangements as a class to open and close the evening. The pieces, exercises the students practiced every day in class, were stunningly executed with a bright-eyed ardor worn on their faces. The highlight of the evening was the students’ presentations of their final projects: the assignment was an open-ended but interesting one, to pay tribute- either in solo or small groups- to the music of the 19th through 21st centuries. The task made for a wonderfully diverse display of talents, including performances of contemporary folk songs and avant-garde modern compositions, original works of music, improvisation, songs performed on instruments never before played by the performer, adaptations of medieval melodies, and synchronized clapping. It was a really wonderful evening that showcased the myriad abilities of our students as well as our teachers.

PWS High School is very grateful to Mr. Spade for traveling across the country to share his knowledge and abilities with the students, and truthfully, the staff as well. He was a wonderful presence at the school, and although everyone will miss him everyone thinks they are happier to have loved and lost.

Pasadena Waldorf School, 209 East Mariposa St., Altadena, (626) 794-9564 or visit



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