St. Quinlan’s

I live around the corner from St. Quinlan’s music school — a massive Georgian building guarded by a blue vault-shaped wooden door. St. Quinlan’s prohibits the chewing of gum on the premises; is holding a Spring Recital in early May; is taking donations for said recital’s refreshments. There are black wrought iron fittings on the big blue door, like hinges on a pirate chest.

Students are usually on the sidewalk when I pass by. They’re lifting their instrument cases like weights, pushing each other on and off the cement steps, flagging down one of the neighborhood’s many stray cats, calling each other bollocks and wanker. As they giggle, the screeches of tortured violins and flutes float from the windows – the “Ode to Joy” becomes a “Plea for Silence.”

And then, every so often, the music teachers have an epiphany and somehow, the kids get it right. Child-sized instruments up, little fingers ready, and Jesus Christ Superstar follows me home.


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