Java with Jess and Viry: Mr. Lea


Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 4.58.46 PM Viry Ayala and Jessica Mora Staff Writers In our fourth installment of Java with Jess and Viry, we decided to Lea-sin closely and keep an ear out in our search for an interview, and who else did we find but Mr. Lea! Whether you have been at Latin for fifteen years or fifteen minutes, you are sure to have seen Mr. Lea singing in the hallways, conducting concerts, and flouncing around at some point in your time here. We sat down to have a chat about music, Netflix, and the mysterious rumors surrounding William Lea. Though it may seem like Mr. Lea has been here forever, this will actually be his third year at Latin. As he modestly says himself, “Not to toot my own horn, but there wasn’t a time before Lea”. This is also his eighth year teaching, having come to Latin from the all boys school St. Patrick’s, where he directed general music, choir and drumline. When asked about what he likes most about Latin, he said “the students are amazing, truly unbelievable, involved, activists—it’s inspiring. I look back at my high school experience now and I’m like, ‘what a loser’.” We’ll have to disagree with Mr. Lea on his last statement. He does wish he could tell his high school self to “not sweat the small stuff, that it’s okay not to get A’s in everything, chill out dude”. If he could travel back in time to any era, Mr. Lea, a jazz enthusiast, would like to be a “fly on the wall in Atlantic records in the mid-late 60’s, early 70’s with Aretha, John Coltrane—maybe Columbia Records”. Seeing all those great artists coming in would be Mr. Lea’s dream come true, and he’d like to “be somebody sitting in the back playing the drums like, ‘there are amazing people here!’” With his Netflix obsessions of Breaking Bad (he’s on season three) and Scrubs, “as a safety”, his good taste is evident. Elliot Reid is his favorite character on Scrubs, as he “attracts to that type of person, you know, goofy but lovable”. When we jokingly asked if the Grammy rumors were true, we were astounded to learn that, in fact, Mr. Lea has won three Grammys! “Yeah, its true! There was this album that was recorded when I was in college choir, it was under this famous conductor Leonard Slatkin, in 2005 or 2006 it won Best Choral Album, Best Classical Album, and Best Live Recording”. Sadly, he is not in possession of said Grammys (“if I had three Grammys, I’d just wear them on a chain”), though he did receive a congratulatory certificate from the Grammy foundation. This was not, however, a satisfactory reward for “[singing] for six hours—none of us wanted to do it—it was hot and mandatory, we hated it. And two years later they’re like ‘oh yeah we won a Grammy,’ and we’re like ‘What! We hated that!’” But what is the real, super secret, inside scoop that Java set out to wrestle from Mr. Lea? Three words. Band. Chorus. Trip. “Okay, I’ll give you one morsel. It is in Europe, and likely in a country where it primarily speaks a romance language.” Thank you Mr. Lea, but that hardly narrows it down. Before we ended what was a thoroughly enjoyable interview, we asked Mr. Lea if he had any parting advice for aspiring musicians at Latin. After thinking a moment, he said, “Do as much as you possibly can, just say yes to everything. Absorb a ton of musical experiences, because you never know what you’re going to need down the road.”    ]]>