Musical Theater and Chorus had a huge impact on Brian Wise ’93 TR and it was through George School that he discovered this. Brian grew up playing the piano. His plans were to continue playing at George School, or perhaps take up woodworking like his brother Marc Wise ’87. However, due to a wrist injury at the end of middle school, Brian got involved in singing and liked it so much that he signed up for chorus when he came to George School as a freshman.
“Michael Sherrin was the theater director at that time,” said Brian. “He was a remarkable person who nurtured and supported everyone. Michael could have made things easier for himself by choosing productions which would showcase a few outstanding performers, but he always chose those which would involve the most students. My fondest memories are from first year when he produced a Cole Porter Review with 30-40 cast members and The Pirates of the Penzance in my final year. Michael had a great cackling laugh which just made you smile. He would share his Opera experience and Scott Hoskins would share his Broadway experience giving us a broader understanding of how theater works. Barbara Kibler and Nelson Camp were so generous with their love and support. The arts faculty would always take time with everyone. This created a stronger community and a better educational experience.”
“When you submerge yourself in the arts, whether in movies, theater, chorale, etc., you leave all your anxieties behind,” continued Brian. “That is the power of the arts. The arts helped shape who I am. I felt proud and special to be part of the theater program at George School.”
A graduate of Duke University and the University of Virginia Law School, Brian has had a varied career. “George School gave me confidence, challenged me, but also accepted who I was,” said Brian. “I grew so much at George School and now as a successful entrepreneur, I realize that having true confidence is critical and that it is okay to not know what path your career will take. You need to discover what path is right for you and what will make you fulfilled.”
Brian’s passion for the arts led to the creation of an endowment to support the performing arts at George School. “Growing up, my parents always taught my brother and me that we were fortunate to be born in the United States with access to opportunities that others do not have,” shared Brian. “As a result, it was our responsibility to help others—people you know and those you do not know. My parents were particularly supportive of education and healthcare, and I have continued this tradition.”
As a member of the Board of Trustees, Brian says, “It is my privilege and honor to serve on the George School Board of Trustees. Providing oversight for a school which has been here for nearly 130 years requires a careful and thoughtful approach. The culture of the school remains the same, but change has happened and that is a good thing. Buildings have changed, faculty children are now faculty, and the school’s population more richly reflects the world we live in. Our expanded economic, racial, social, and international diversity allows us to have more thoughtful conversations about difficult topics which makes us better educationally.”