Advent 2015

I’m a four-season guy.  And in the liturgical calendar, I’m an all-season guy (except for Pentecost, which just seems to drag on sometimes).

But my favoritest season of the church year is Advent, which began at sundown last evening.  This time of expectation, of cleaning up, of preparation, of hope . . . this time fills me with some undefinable quiet joy.

E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come,
and night shall be no more.
We need no light, nor lamp, nor sun,
for Christ shall be our all.

The Thanksgiving meal


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My dining room table was filled with six students plus me. The menu included turkey, homemade cornbread stuffing, buttered carrots, cheese grits, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, sesame rolls, cranberry relish (these last two things the only not-from-scratch menu items).  For dessert, pineapple pie and pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream.

Turkey breast before and after:

Stuffing before and after:

The serving trough:

And I must say: I was plum wore out Thursday night.  The children left, and I took a 90-minute nap.  That much cooking and doing was a delightful but tiring chore.

I spent Thanksgiving evening watching the live stream from Hesston College and their annual Thanksgiving concert, this year featuring combined Hesston forces in Haydn’s The Creation.  The stand-out?  Ken Rodgers at the harpsichord, of course!

The Day BEFORE Thanksgiving

Review student projects.  Email. Teach. Attend meetings.  Chat with colleagues.

This was my Wednesday at the office.

At 2 p.m., I left for a more-peaceful-than-expected Costco.  Pumpkin pie.  Dinner rolls.  Milk and eggs and sugar and cream.  20 lbs. of potatoes.  Some blackberries.  Booze.

This was my haul.

And then I drove north on I-270 and east on I-44, taking the Hampton exit and cutting over to the Schnuck’s on the Hill. The parking lot was not as full as I expected, either.

Walking in the store, though, I was assaulted by horribly-out-of-tune saxophone playing.  Apparently members of the Maplewood Kiwanas Club were trying to raise money, and selling some homemade popcorn.  Their hook was the ancient man playing sax, accompanied by a trying-to-keep-up-with-the-drum-sound-on-the-keyboard guy.  I mean, this was movie set comedy bad.

I fled.

And then, somewhere between the celery and the yellow onions, I melted. The older woman next to me was humming along with the dying sax.  I was too.  For one magic moment our voices joined together under our breaths. “May your days be merry and bright . . .”, we hummed.

And all was right with the world.

I spent the rest of my minutes in the store saying “Happy Thanksgiving” to complete strangers, smiling and thanking the staff who were everywhere and harried on this busiest day of the grocery year, and generally atoning for my ill will toward the sax player.

Merry and bright, indeed.

Walking the dog

Way back when I lived in Muncie, I played marches through my earbuds to try to keep me on pace and I walked the neighborhood and took exercise (sometimes).

Augustus Rex is a walker.  He needs several outdoor stretches each day.  And I am walking him on a leash.

Sousa marches are too fast, clocking in quite often at around ♩= 120 beats per minutes.  That comes in at two steps per second, which is a bit rapid for Auggie and quite too much for me.


So I go instead with parade marches, such as the “Colonel Bogey March” and other British quadruple meter marches. These come in a ♩= 90, a much better pace for both of us.

I’m loading tons of these British marches into the iPhone, and enjoying some marching music with the mutt.


The annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music usually takes place this very weekend in a climate that includes palm trees.

This year, the meeting is here in Saint Louis.

At least I can sleep in my own bed!


One of the highlights of the NASM meeting is seeing old friends.  Each year, I dine with people I like.  Last evening, at Lorenzo’s on the Hill, I dined with two colleagues with Ball State University connections.  And I ran into my current associate chair, the former Webster University chair, and two others from the conference, all at various other tables.

And my session yesterday afternoon — I moderated a session on legal issues for music executives — went well indeed, thanks in part to two bang-up presenters!


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