All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
|Walking down the hall at DeLaSalle, you always notice chemistry teacher Richard Dirlam, thanks to two distinguishing factors: his bow ties and tie-dyed lab coat. “These accouterments came about rather serendipitously,” he says, “yet through the years both have become, in a manner of speaking, my school uniform.”
Wednesday mornings hold extra excitement for serious science students at DeLaSalle. That’s when they gather at the chemistry lab for Science Club, coordinated by Mr. Dirlam. Students investigate current science topics and perform experiments that enrich their normal science classes. “There are often loud cheers and choruses of ‘Oohs and Aahs’ as we explore the explosive reactions of alkali metals or the flash of nitrated cellulose,” explains Mr. Dirlam. “Students explore the possibilities of the future and how scientific knowledge can enrich our lives.”
Dirlam is particularly interested in helping students understand that they have choices in life. “I like to heighten their awareness of living intentionally as it relates to themselves and the environment,” he says.
Besides being the “science guy,” Richard holds a doctorate in music and is DeLaSalle’s resident saxophonist. He received degrees in music, chemistry, and a Masters in Science Education from the University of Minnesota, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas.
Mr. Dirlam spent several years studying music at the Conservatorie National de Musique de Bordeaux, France, where he has received First Prizes and Medals of Honour in saxophone and chamber music. He has performed in Europe, North America, Japan, and Thailand and is invited regularly to play with the MN Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and other local venues.
Mr. Dirlam’s has recorded on several CDs, including as a member of Le Quatour International de Saxophones, which includes saxophonists from Canada, Japan, and France. Le Quatour performed for DeLaSalle music classes while on a North American tour.
Richard is fluent in French and travels regularly to Europe during school vacations to perform music, visit friends and take part in the cuisine and local customs of France, Italy, and Spain. He has served on the parish council at the "French Church," Our Lady of Lourdes, in Minneapolis. When not playing music, one of his favorite hobbies is cooking and exploring the best “kitchens” in the metro area. He has an acute ability to find obscure but good locations for savory dining.