RJ “Publius” Parsons came to the University of Kentucky after several years in which he taught high-school music and Latin in Miami, Florida, and Glendale, California. He has done extensive research into impressionistic music theory, medieval polyphony, and renaissance counterpoint most recently creating a musical score of sacred motets written by the sixteenth-century Flemish composer Noe Faignant. Throughout his musical tuition RJ has enjoyed employing texts that were written entirely in Latin, as for centuries it was the language of scholarship in all disciplines and especially music. He took so much pleasure in using the Latin skills he had obtained in school that he decided to teach it!
At the American Classical League convention’s spoken Latin seminar held at Loyola Marymount University, RJ first met Drs. Milena Minkova and Terence Tunberg and although he had been a Latin teacher for some time before, he was eager to explore the Latin language beyond the classical authors as he had previously done in his music research. The professors invited RJ to attend the Conventiculum Lexintoniense that summer and he knew immediately that the challenge of discussing Latin texts, and in the target language no less, was not only useful in making him a better Latin teacher, but also in making his enjoyment of the Language all the more complete.
Since he arrived at UK’s Institutum Studiis Latinis Provehendis, RJ has thoroughly enjoyed reading and discussing wide-ranging Latin texts from the Roman Republic to the twentieth century in Latin. Two of the most enriching parts of this unique program are Monday morning breakfasts and extra sessions in which he and his fellow students practice conversing in Latin on a wide variety of topics with Drs. Minkova and Tunberg. These weekly events are the most efficacious way to internalize the timeless language on its own terms and a great opportunity to get to know his colleagues as they strive for effective and correct use of Latin syntax and idiom in relaxed and jovial settings. As RJ looks forward to graduating in the spring, he is writing a Latin commentary on Johann Fux’s music theory treatise Gradus ad Parnassum and while doing so relishes the opportunity to engage in Latin and music, the two loves of his life.