Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Lord giveth

And the Lord taketh away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

I received word recently that a dear and delighted and devoted student is going to be making some changes.  I applaud his decision and his bravery and his clarity in this important life change.  He’s incredibly centered and self-aware, and I have no doubt he’s doing a right thing.

But my own bittersweet sense of loss is pretty strong too.

The price one pays for teaching and sharing and coaching is that the students learn to make their own decisions. That price includes the sadness when a student leaves, or a cherished kid graduates, or when life leads elsewhere.  The payoff, of course, is the joy in teaching and the thrill of making discoveries together, and the peace that pervades when good teaching and good learning meet and embrace.

In all these cases, right is right.  I rejoice in that.

And now the world is right, and true.

But I shall miss this kid.

New website launch

The Webster University Department of Music launched a new website today.

This is the result of several years of design and publishing work by the Global Marketing team, then several weeks of migrating, re-writing, new writing, uploading, editing, and such from me to get the Department of Music site ready to go.

It’s a work in progress, of course, and not fully populated yet, but it’s up!  And for a while, my evenings are mine again.

Sara Teasdale

After setting three Sara Teasdale poems this weekend, for voice and oboe, I am even more in love with this poet.  Her simplicity and directness is so eloquent.


Love entered in my heart one day,
A sad, unwelcome guest;
But when he begged that he might stay,
I let him wait and rest.

He broke my sleep with sorrowing,
And shook my dreams with tears,
And when my heart was fain to sing,
He stilled its joy with fears.

But now that he has gone his way,
I miss the old sweet pain,
And sometimes in the night I pray
That he may come again.

Samson barks

One evening back in October, I had, upon arriving home, spoken a long voice memo into my iPhone, recapping things I’d thought of on the short drive from school.

Thinking I had hit the red stop button, I set the phone down on the kitchen table.  And I proceeded to have a conversation with Samson the Feist whilst unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen sink.

Samson was certainly voluble.  And the phone was still recording.

This may also incriminate me, but it’s too fun not to share, so share I will.

Listen and enjoy!

Composing again

It’s Friday evening.  I have spent the day indoors save for a journey to the Central West End for a brunch with one of my most amazing students.

And this afternoon, after I got the office cleaned and did some laundry, and in between coachings of two senior students at the Kawai in my front hall, I set about composing.

With little effort and high spirits, I have set today two Sara Teasdale texts, “Tree of Life” and “The Coin.”

I shall sing both of these a week from tonight on the Webster University faculty composers concert.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m actually writing them this weekend . . . .

Tomorrow should find me with one more of these to go.  All three are linked by a simple motive.  And all three are with oboe!

This is my first stab at art song, at secular composition (although I’ve made plenty of arrangements), and at working with solo voice and solo instrument.  I’m having fun!

Paper sack apple pie

Wednesday, after dark, in the crush of grocery shopping before Thanksgiving.  In the check-out line at Schnucks in Webster Groves.  The kid who is bagging my groceries notices the four pounds of apples.

“Are you making apple pie?”

Then the cashier: “I have no idea how to make one.”

I start spouting off the recipe as taught by Mom and G-ma and Aunt Esther, and as still practiced by my sister Karen.

The cashier: “You have that written down somewhere?”

Yes, I do.

And here it is, both as printable PDF and as a pic:


3 lbs of apples.  3 dishwasher loads.  9 kitchen towels.  Multiple lbs of turkey.  1 turkey neck plus onion and celery and bay leaf, all boiled for stock for gravy.  3 lbs of new potatoes.  Loads of green beans.  And of course a batch of cheese grits.

And 7 happy voices around the table.

This was my Thanksgiving, as friends and a couple of students enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast & fellowship.