Campus Faces

The Washers—William, Trinette, and Kathryn—are not your typical Moravian family. But that’s because they’re not your typical any kind of family.

Bill, the father, has been an artist-lecturer in the Music Department for three years. He teaches jazz guitar and directs one of the jazz combo ensembles. Evenings, he makes a small tour of the area each week, playing at various venues in Bethlehem, Allentown, and the Poconos. He’s also on call whenever a first-rate guitarist is needed for a Broadway pit ensemble.

“ I’ve given up trying to keep a calendar,” says his wife. “Once when Katie came home for a visit, she said: ‘Where’s Dad?’ I said: ‘Oh, he’s in Florida.’ ” He had flown in on short notice to play lead guitar in the road company of The Lion King.

Trinette Singleton, the mother, is just as all over the map. Retired after a brilliant career with the Joffrey Ballet, she teaches at its school in New York one day a week, runs her own dance academy in Wilkes-Barre, and is asked frequently to set Joffrey or classical repertory or lead master classes for ballet schools, regional dance companies, or college and university dance programs.

And Katie, the daughter, who went to dance classes almost from the day she was born, goes to Moravian College. No soft major for her. A Comenius Scholar, she’s majoring in physics and music. She played flute in the marching band during football season, danced and choreographed for the Moravian College Dancers in the spring. “If she’s not busy 20 hours out of 24, she’s not happy,” says her mother. “Wonder where she gets that from?” says her father, to the air.

They live in the Poconos, across the road from Long Pond, which gives their town its name. This means that winter comes early and spring comes late. But it also means they’re within an hour of most of what they do, and a couple of hours out of New York City.

Katie went to one of the state’s best high schools, participated in a full slate of extracurricular activities, took as many dance classes as any ballet-struck teenager. But neither parent wanted her to make a career in dance. “If you want to dance, you don’t go to college,” says Trinette. “If you’re going to be a professional in the arts world, a piece of paper means nothing. But in classical ballet, there are a bazillion dancers out there. I’m delighted she loves it, but she was smart enough to know it doesn’t make a living.” “It keeps me sane,” says Katie of her evening dance classes at Moravian.

The College was a natural choice, say her parents. By her senior year, Katie was studying flute with Robin Kani, artist-lecturer in music, and they commuted to Bethlehem for Katie’s weekly lessons. So Moravian was on her short list when she applied to colleges. “We looked at six different places,” said her mother, “and I was impressed with the people at Moravian. When we told the other schools she wanted to major in physics and music, they said: ‘Well, yeah, you can,’ in that doubtful voice. At Moravian they said, ‘It’ll be challenging, but you can do it.’ ”

They find the 45-mile distance to be just right. “I’m adjusted, though it was bad the first couple of months,” says Trinette. “I think she adjusted better than I did. I was afraid I’d lose her.” Now she wears her Moravian sweatshirt with pride and drinks coffee from a mug labeled “Moravian Mom.” She is able to be there for Katie’s activities—football games, concerts, dance performances—without being too much there.

Katie gets to see her dad when he comes to campus to teach on Fridays. “Whenever he comes down, we go to Johnny’s and get a bagel,” says Katie. “Or sometimes I just give him my laundry.”