ROXBURY, NJ — Most language instructors can easily go online and find music videos to add life to their lessons. But Roxbury resident Keith Massey, who teaches Latin, didn’t have that luxury.
“Nothing like that existed for Latin,” said the 54-year-old Leonia High School language instructor.
So Massey, who’s lived in Landing for about 14 years, decided to do it himself. He learned how to use GarageBand, a software package that allows users to create music on computers, and made a number of Latin language cover song videos.
“Some of these, such as my cover of Adele’s “Hello,” have hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube,” Massey said.
His latest creation, released Thursday and yet to be shown to his students, is a Latin rendition of the Beatles’ “Let it Be.”
The video begins with Massey awaking at 6 a.m., making coffee in his kitchen and heading off to work. The camera lingers on the face mask he grabs before heading to his car. Arriving at school, he has his temperature taken.
The lyrics of the song speak to finding oneself in times of trouble. From Massey’s perspective, the COVID-19 pandemic is surely one of those times.
“I produced all the music in GarageBand,” he said. “I sing, and the music video accompanying the song is in the theme of a day in the life of a teacher in a pandemic.”
Massey, a Wisconsin native, is fluent in a number of languages including Arabic, Romanian and Spanish. His skills were put to use by the United States Government before he took the teaching job in Bergen County. Massey served as an Arabic linguist for the National Security Agency (NSA) from 2002 to 2004.
“I went o work for the NSA after 9/11,” he said. “I had this expertise and I felt a duty to serve my country … I was given the opportunity to do a tour of duty in Mosul, Iraq in 2004. What I did was, obviously, classified, but it primarily was listening to intercepted communications, primarily for force protection.”
In addition to his teaching position, Massey — who has a doctorate in Biblical Hebrew — serves as a priest at an Eastern Orthodox church in Hackettstown, he said.
His classes at the high school are popular, particularly with students who plan to become doctors and lawyers, fields where knowledge of Latin comes in handy, Massey said.
He acknowledged Latin classes are becoming “less and less common,” especially in public schools. “Unfortunately, in many schools, whenever the Latin teacher retires, they kill the program,” Massey said.
Make sure you don’t miss any Roxbury news! Click here to sign-up for our free daily e-newsletter.
TAPinto Roxbury is free to read, funded entirely by business advertising.
Want to help support local journalism and promote your business to thousands of community-minded readers? Become a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor! Call 862-259-2448 or click here.
To send press releases, classified ads, items for the event calendar, “Milestones” announcements, etc., look for the “Submit Content” link on the homepage.