Catholic Memorial School senior Mark Woodall of West Roxbury has spent more time than most 18-year-olds on a plane, traveling to Eastern Europe, Peru, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Mexico in his high school years with the school’s travel immersion program.
Clearly, Woodall did not simply go on these trips to see the sights. As demonstrated by his independent study recital in music, art and writing on May 4, in the school’s seminar room, Woodall has digested and, as Yeats would say, become a part of all that he has met.
In “Letters to the Other,” Woodall’s one-hour recital of songs that have inspired him during his journeys, Woodall recounted to 100 friends, faculty and family members what he has learned and how he has continued to grow as a result of his travels. Winner of the 2012 Renaissance Artist of the Year Award at CM, Woodall's performance revealed his various talents.
Reading a letter aloud, penned to a person in each of these various countries, Woodall would then dedicate a song to him or her, with his original photography behind him on stage changing to suit each new addressee. Accompanied by fine arts chair Craig Spaner on piano, Woodall sang over a dozen songs, each portion concluding with his refrain, “What else can I do to help?”
“Mark’s experience at CM has been profound, and this work is a culmination of everything he’s done with that and everything he wants to do in the future,” said Spaner.
CM president Paul Sheff praised Woodall after the performance. “It was truly inspiring,” he said. “Mark clearly understands not only that there is an other, but that we all have a commitment to the other.”