Hello and thanks for reading! I’m Scott Chamberlain, a resident of the fair city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Welcome to my blog.
Allow me to introduce myself.
For most of my life I’ve balanced two more or less equal passions: a deep fascination with the past and a love of music (mostly, but not entirely, of the classical kind). I’ve alternated between these two passions in terms of study, employment and recreation since my days as a very wee lad.
On the “past” side of the equation, I’ve been an ethnohistorian working on the pre-conquest cultures of Mexico (specifically the Mixtecs of Oaxaca, but with deep dives into the Aztec and Maya as well), and a traditional historian specializing in Costa Rican urban and cultural history. (As an aside, I’ve been known to do people’s astrological “chart” in the Aztec manner. It’s a great party trick.) For many years I taught Colonial and Modern Latin American History at the University of Kansas, in Spanish and English. Along the way, I’ve lived or spent much time in Spain, Costa Rica and Mexico.
On the “music” side of the equation, I’ve been an active classical singer for many years (I currently sing with the Minnesota Chorale); I’ve performed several operas, although my true calling as a performer is choral works. But my involvement in arts organizations goes further than just performing. For more than a decade I’ve served as an arts administrator for diverse groups including the Minnesota Orchestra, The O’Shaughnessy Theatre, The Musical Offering, and One Voice Mixed Chorus.
In addition, I served a three-year term as the President of the Board for the Minnesota Chorale, and this has given me a great deal of sympathy for the rigors of running a major arts organization. (As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Minnesota Chorale.)
The blog name and cover shot are a fusion of these two trends. It’s named for Xochipilli, (“The Flower Prince”) the Aztec patron god of music and the arts who is also the patron of my birth day. He is also the primordial actor; the blog’s name gives a specific shout-out to his actor’s mask, which serves as his public visage while hiding his inscrutable true nature beneath. My blog’s banner illustration comes from the Codex Becker I, a pre-colombian Mixtec manuscript, and shows an ancient Mexican orchestra composed of flutes, whistles, trumpets and various percussion. The mask emblem is a mask of Xochipilli discovered in the ruins of Teotihuacan, Mexico. The other image is one of the most famous images of Xochipilli—a monumental sculpture now housed in Mexico City’s Museo Nacional de Antropología.