Jami-Leigh Bartschi ’07 ’12MLS is a musician, a Wekiva High School teacher, and a graduate of Rollins’ Master of Liberal Studies program. So is her father, Stephen Furo ’01MLS, a man she calls “a role model” and “my hero.” But if Bartschi has followed in her father’s footsteps, she has done so as her own person.
The similarities started when Bartschi was a toddler. “Everyone in my family is a musician,” she said. “I started playing the piano when I was three years old.” She soon began singing and playing the flute, and was composing music by the age of 13. After earning a B.A. in music at Rollins, she followed her father to Wekiva High School, where he teaches English, and she teaches music. “I love what I do more than I can express,” she said, “and it’s great teaching at the same school as my father.”
When Bartschi decided to pursue a master’s degree, she once more took the like-father-like-daughter path. “I look up to my father as a teacher,” she said. “As far as the MLS program is concerned, he is a big reason why I decided to pursue this particular degree.” But she selected liberal studies for her own reasons as well. “I’m the kind of person who wants to know everything, and I want to know how it all relates,” she said. “Nothing stands on its own, including music. It’s a product of the world in which it is created, and the people in that world.”
Though Bartschi was again traveling her father’s life track, her MLS thesis was the vehicle by which she truly forged her own identity. The idea for the project she calls “the most intellectually and artistically fulfilling thing I’ve ever done,” literally came to her in her sleep. “I sat bolt upright in bed with the idea to write a Sherlock Holmes musical,” she said. “It all came to me at once.” By morning, she had mapped out the entire musical—a 214-page script with 17 original music compositions. Of her remarkable accomplishment, Bartschi said, “This musical is my soul incarnate.”
Though Bartschi never plans to stop teaching, she is currently working with a director to produce her musical. “I eagerly await the day I can share it with the world,” she says.
And of his daughter’s similar-yet-unique achievements, Stephen Furo proudly says, “She is il miglior fabbro.” She is the better craftsman.
By Renée Anduze