Interview With Ms. Mary Helen Solomon

Ms. Mary Helen Solomon

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Interview by: Inés Eisenhour ’19

This interview has been modified and modeled after Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire. The purpose of the Questionnaire is to delve into the qualities that define an individual’s personality. My Friday guest is none other than my mama bird on campus: the kind, the beautiful the PBS-loving, Ms. Solomon. She’s a positive, inspiring voice in the Episcopal community, who has been the vanguard of our magnificent Choral program for twelve years. Her full-time presence has been greatly missed, but her passion for the arts makes any moment valuable.

  • What is your idea of perfect happiness? Travelling; finding a new viewpoint through new experience.
  • What is your most marked characteristic? I like to smile.
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement(s)? Being able to create concert versions of Broadway shows like Into the Woods, Grease and Les Miserables.
  • What is your greatest fear? Running out of ideas… But more seriously, running out of clean water… and clean air… losing a living planet.
  • Which historical figure do you most identify with? Emily Dickinson. She worked in solitude, which I think is useful for my own creative process.
  • Which living person do you most admire? Barack and Michelle Obama.
  • Who is your favorite hero of fiction? I love Jo in Little Women. She wants to freely express herself, but that’s a challenge because she has many non-traditional ideas. She works very hard to find her voice through her writing. She’s independent and unafraid. I am not so bold, but I’d like to be.
  • Who are your heroes in real life? Sally and Jimbo Deming. They have been such a positive force in the face of everything they have had to deal with.
  • What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Indecisiveness.
  • What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty.
  • What it is that you most dislike? Negativity.
  • What is your greatest extravagance? Buying fresh and healthy food on a regular basis.
  • What I was your favorite journey? It’s a toss-up between New Zealand and London.
  • What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Self-righteousness.
  • Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I wouldn’t know.
  • What is your greatest regret? I try not to have regrets.
  • What is your current state of mind? I’m in a part of my life where things are shifting, but I am looking forward to some of those changes. I’m very excited.
  • When and where were you happiest? The day my son was born.
  • If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? To have some do-overs.
  • What is your most treasured possession? My curiosity.
  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Running out of coffee.
  • Where would you like to live? Somewhere with birds singing, water lapping against the shore and plenty of trees for shade.
  • What is your favorite occupation? Anything involving the arts.
  • What is the quality you most enjoy in a friend? A good listener who has good stories to share.
  • What are your favorite names? Tyler Solomon ‘01, Aotearoa (which means “land of the long white cloud”) and Samba.