Monthly Archives: August 2016


The travel schedule this school year is coming into focus.

September finds me on two personal trips: Chicago this next weekend for some R&R (but not at the Red Roof Inn!), and then to Lee’s Summit to see family in late September.

I also go to Greencastle, Indiana, for a conference in September.

October takes me three different directions: east to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a curriculum conference; then west to Santa Fe for a curriculum conference; and then north to Iowa City for the annual student conference for this region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

And I’m going to make a Fall Break swing to universities in Illinois and Ohio who are members of the Webster International Network of Schools (WINS).  That will be a driving trip.  So . . . October includes 13 nights away from home!

I’ll spend November and December close to home, since I’m musical director for A Christmas Carol at the Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis.  But . . . in early November, a trip to the Arkansas Music Educators Association conference in Hot Springs.
But then I spend my Rep earnings on a trip to Hong Kong for a week over the New Year holiday!

In late January, I travel as usual to the Lake of the Ozarks for the state music teaching conference.

And currently, the only other Spring 2017 trip is to NYC for Spring Break, where I’ll have six of my seniors on stage for the Webster University showcase.

I’m betting more Spring 2017 travel happens, but that’s it for now.


At Soulard Market yesterday, I picked up a stem of longan fruit from one of the market vendors — one who regularly has jaca and papaya and other fresh tropical fruits for sale.

This morning, after enjoying my breakfast sandwich & coffee & New York Times arts section, I ate about half of the fruits on the stem.

To eat a longan or a lychee (which I love!) or a rambutan, one must first get a thumb under the skin, which comes off easily if the fruit is ripe.  Then one pops the translucent flesh of the fruit into the mouth.

The key in the next few seconds: bite the flesh off of the seed that is in the center of the fruit, but without biting the seed itself.

The seed tastes, in a word, nasty.

I learned about lychee on my first trip to China in 2005, and I couldn’t get enough of them.  On subsequent trips, and if I’m near an Asian market in a Chinatown in Seattle or San Francisco or NYC or Montreal or London or elsewhere, I seek out lychee.

The market stall was down to longan only yesterday, which are my least favorite of the three I mentioned, but I still found great pleasure in these tasty Asian treats today.

Enjoy this video, complete with bad fingernails and one of the hosts not certain she likes the taste…..

Market Day

I returned from Soulard Market this morning totally and completely allergized.  Something is in the air…..

But today’s haul =

  • a pound of new fingerling potatoes
  • five ears of corn
  • a bushel of peaches to be frozen (seconds that need to be worked up quickly)
  • ten pounds of pickling cucumbers for a second batch of lime pickles
  • some lychee fruit
  • lemons and limes
  • three hostas for the garden next to the front porch
  • a pound of ground pork
  • a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes (SO GOOD!) from my favorite vendor
  • a loaf of sourdough bread

And a ham and Swiss quiche that I have devoured for lunch.

Last week's flowers are still looking so good that I bought none today.
Last week’s flowers are still looking so good that I bought none today.

In numbers

The first week of the 2016-17 school year, in numbers:

320.  Number of work emails I sent this week.

154/91.  Highest my blood pressure has been this week.

112.  Number of undergraduate majors in music at Webster University.

62.  Number of students through my office this week.

49.  Number of books hoisted today onto my new bookshelf at the office.

35.  Number of times a faculty member popped in for a question (at least).

29.  Number of new students at the first of our six weekly MUSIC 101 orientation sessions on Wednesday.

10.  Number of times I said “I’ve made enough decisions today.”

5.  Nights of good and healthy sleep this week.

4.  Nights I was still on the computer at 11 p.m., trying to catch up from the day.

3.  Number of class sessions I taught this week.  Number of dress shirts now in the laundry.

2.  Nights of callbacks for A Christmas Carol at the Rep.  Number of breakfasts I ate at home.

  1.  Number of Convocations I hosted.  Number of hamburgers I ate this week.

0.  Number of crying students.

Zilch.  Plans for my Friday evening.  Peace and quiet reign.  And some popcorn and a DVD.


So I’m at dinner on Tuesday evening, at Mission Taco in the Central West End.

With me are two former students, Jeff (who is at SLU working on pre-med courses) and Michael, a Webster BFA alumnus who has found success, with a national tour under his belt and a contract the Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, which brings him to town right now.

I love these guys.

Jeff is going to kill me for posting this, but oh well.

As we walk in the restaurant, there are Vince and Kelly Karamanov, with whom I had dinner last week. Vince is the new principal contrabassoon with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Only in Saint Louis, this big tiny town, would people from two of my different universities collide like this.

And then I see outside the restaurant Danielle, a current music major at Webster, and several folks from Saint Louis’ theatre community, with whom I occasionally perform.

The collisions and connections of our worlds are intricate, wide-flung, and priceless.