On a bright afternoon in mid-May, Jeston Lewis, SFWS Class of 2008, came by the high school and grade school campuses to visit old teachers. He had just graduated from Stony Brook University in New York and was briefly back in the Bay Area seeing family and friends and getting ready for a cross-country drive to Rochester, NY where he will embark on his post-college career.
Jeston graduated from Stony Brook with a degree in Multidisciplinary Studies. He focused on the technical side of music and theater, building sets, designing light and sound systems, and recording music. While in school he also performed with the Stony Brook High C’s, an all-male a cappella college group, started a professional a cappella group called The Executive Board (theexecutiveboard.net), and volunteered with sound and light production at events in the New York area.
It was through volunteering that Jeston met Dave Longo, the founder of Sled Dog Studios (www.sleddogstudios.com), a recording and production company that focuses on a cappella music. After seeing Jeston’s work at a couple of gigs, Dave asked him what his plans where upon graduating from college. Jeston has been working part-time with Sled Dog Studios ever since and will move into a full-time position upon his arrival in Rochester.
To say that Jeston is excited about the way his career is unfolding would be an understatement. He had been especially interested in working with a cappella music, and this job allows him to go behind the scenes. He is thrilled that Sled Dog Studios will provide him a lot of opportunity for growth—the company is expanding into lighting, something Jeston is passionate about. One of his first tasks will be to design the mobile lighting rig that the studio will take to performances.
Jeston first became interested in theater at a very young age, an interest and a talent that his Class Teacher, Gary Ayelsworth, pushed, cultivated, and continues to support to this day. In high school, Jeston learned more about the backstage aspect of theater in a production class with Michael Garrett of Phoebus Lighting. He also credits Dr. Carini’s Electricity and Magnetism class with preparing him well for his more technical classes like Audio Engineering.
“I appreciate the sciences and humanities far more than if I had only been focused [on music and theater]. And some of the teachers were so inspired in their love of learning that it translated to me.” Jeston felt that his grade school and high school education made him inherently interested in encountering the world with a great deal of depth and openness. He attributes his ability to hold a conversation with almost anyone he meets to his Waldorf education and the broad basis it offers for understanding “everything that is out there.”
Jeston points out that in Waldorf Education, students are not overwhelmed by information. Instead they are encouraged to mull, absorb, and discuss. He thinks about the different music camps he attended when he was younger, and while many of his fellow campers knew lots of theory, they lacked the passion for music. Jeston whole-heartedly credits his Waldorf education with his deep and infectious passion for music and for life. “I look back and I already know I’ll send my own kids to Waldorf. I can’t wait!