The weekend

Saturday dawned hot and sunny.  Auggie let me lie in for a while.

Saturday-June - 3

My dear friend Ken Rodgers is here this weekend.  He arrived Friday in time to see Atomic at New Line Theatre. I made us some Saturday breakfast of bacon and eggs and fresh berries.

And then my upstairs bathroom sink decided to spring a leak.  Will the Plumber from across the street came and took a look, and I’m scheduled for plumbing work (meaning tearing out a wall…) on Monday.

To my query about why I have an old house, said Will the Plumber: “They have charm. And they have upkeep.  One goes with the other.”

The lawn and garden is needing lots of water in this heat and rain-less weather; I moved the sprinkler four times over the long hours of daylight on Saturday.

Auggie was playful on Saturday morning, and willingly posed for some photos.

Auggie-Saturday - 1

Ken and I intended to go the Missouri History Museum, but Forest Park was wall-to-wall on a bright and none-too-humid Saturday.  So we went to Atomic Cowboy for some Tex-Mex instead.

I watched UEFA Euro 2016, and Ken went to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to see Shalimar the Clown.  Dinner was barbecued shrimp, with some green beans and potatoes.

And then I closed Atomic.  The wonderful run of ten performances is over.  My next project awaits.

I received this weekend a most welcome card from a friend from college days. He had walked away after I came out to him in the late 1980s, but has written to apologize and reconcile. I was best man in his wedding. I could not be more pleased!

Sunday will include Auggie’s visit to the groomer, a morning walk in the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the brunch at a café in the garden.  Ken will depart for home, and I will go see Company at Insight Theatre (with students Cher Alvarez and Matt Pentecost in the cast).

I tried a new shrimp dish this week, one that was quite tasty! —

And continuing the food theme:

Dolph's meal with me on Wednesday, with his homemade goulash and spätzle, cucumber salad, and bread.
Dolph’s meal with me on Wednesday, with his homemade goulash and spätzle, cucumber salad, and bread.
Greek salad on Thursday (minus the olive oil that dressed the salad just before dining).
Greek salad on Thursday (minus the olive oil that dressed the salad just before dining).
 Saturday dinner of garlic butter shrimp and green beans with potatoes.
Saturday dinner of garlic butter shrimp and green beans with potatoes.



I’m always delighted to see my name in an announcement with good news:

We are happy to announce the 8 presentations chosen for the Central Region NATS Conference and Student Auditions, Saturday and Sunday, October 29 & 30, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.  Students will enjoy these presentations, as well as teachers.

Watch for more announcements between now and the fall including: Registration information, the Book/CD Corner, Topical Breakfast, Master Class, and of course……STUDENT AUDITIONS for which the top 5 of each category qualify for the NATIONAL STUDENT AUDITIONS.

Central Region NATS….. Pedagogy: Enhanced and Informed

2016 Central Region NATS Presentations


Dr. Jeffrey Carter  “A Second Golden Era:
The Music of Post-Millennial Musical Theatre Composers”

Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral

On Sunday, I sang Evensong at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal), Kansas City.

The music list included my own “Forest Park” Responses, David Cooper’s fauxbourdon evening canticles, and a setting of Ubi caritas.

Special intentions were offered for the victims, families and friends of the Orlando 49.

Before the choir rehearsal, I spent a few minutes observing some details of the cathedral nave, chancel, pulpit, and furnishings.

Choral Evensong: A Time for Mourning, Reflection, and Resolve following the massacre in Orlando

Sunday, June 19, 5:00 PM

The Trinity Choir sings Evensong, a service of music for reflection, meditation and prayer. A time for making corporate lament, remembering innocent victims, candle lighting, and healing prayer follows. Those present may write down commitments to do loving and restorative acts on behalf of God’s people and world.


The New York Times ran an article this weekend, indicating that research shows that luck has quite a bit to do with ones success in life.

I don’t deny that being in the right place at the right time is a good deal.  I’ve been the beneficiary of such luck.

Or is luck just another name for providence?

carter2016-1In my undergrad days, Dr. Gary Galeotti taught me that Providence is ‘the hand of God moving in the lives of His people for the purpose of redemption.’  Thirty-five years later, I can still quote that definition.

And that belief in Divine Providence (now more in a Jeffersonian sense, rather than my earnest late-teenage literalism) has been a guiding force in my journey.

For journey is the right term for life on this planet, and the road to or from success.


I am often asked the age-old question, ‘if you could do it over again, what would you do differently?’.  And that question is impossible, in both premise and answer.

Everything I am today is result of the journey to this day, of the choices that I did or did not make, of what was done to me and for me.

To whit:

  • each day when I play the piano, I am reminded again of the goodness of my parents in finding a way for me to take piano lessons when I was ten years old.  I could not possibly be the musician I am today, or do what I do today, without the gift that was given for me.
  • each day at Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, I am reminded of the steps I took in finding my own religious expression in my late 20s, and of the kind oversight and teaching of Fr. Chip Gilman (now a Roman Catholic monk in Québec) as he helped shape me into the Christian traveler I am today.
  • each time I learn a new musical theatre score, or start a new show, I harken back to the chances that directors took on me in Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs, and Warrensburg.  I owe so much of my current providential luck to Pam Buck and Russ Coleman, and I take with me to every rehearsal kernels from Lee’s Summit/Blue Springs folk like Janice and Jim and Russ and Charlene and others I don’t now remember to name, but whose faces are part of the galaxy of folks who have touched me.
  • each time I visit with a prospective student in my office at Webster University, I bring to the table lessons learned 30 years ago when I worked college admissions at Southwest Baptist University, especially some of the things I gleaned from Rod and Jerald and Lee.  Their lessons, both positive and negative, about how to talk to high school students and parents — these lessons continue to inform my journey.
  • in seven weeks, when I arrive at Heathrow Airport, I will pack with me kernels of wisdom and wonder that first started taking shape in a high school English Lit course taught by the late (gone 20 years this Thanksgiving), great Sandy Simpkins. The decision to take that class — to fill a hole in my schedule — led me to an Anglophile journey that continues to enrich and entertain and delight. (Read more about Sandy Simpkins and her influence on my teaching.)  And Jerry Voss’ class in World Historical Biographies helped shape a much wider world view than I think I would otherwise have had in my 20s.
  • Art Phillips gave me a landing place in 1987 when I needed to leave my SBU job, and then 15 months later he gave me an unintended push to a life in music when he made some personnel decisions in his management company.  Every day since then, Art’s faith-filled decision to do what was best at that time for his company — that decision that upended me for a few days, and led me to despair and fear like I had never felt before — each day that decision has been part of my journey as voice teacher, accompanist, music director, church musician, choral conductor, show choir director, and now composer and faculty head at university.  Art’s decision caused me to go to school and gain two more degrees.  Art’s decision has been, for nearly 30 years now, a cause of great joy and satisfaction, even as it was terrifying in the moment in 1988.
  • each day, when I view the photo of Herbert Howells that stands on my desk at home, I consider the providence that led me to the University of Central Missouri, and Mike Lancaster, and Howells‘ Collegium Regale service that we sang at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral at Evensong in February, and the subsequent work I did with Simon Carrington at the University of Kansas, and the ongoing and powerful relationship with the people of Grace & Holy Trinity and especially John Schaefer . . . and this colliding,intersecting amalgam of strands of providence that entwine music and Howells and Episcopalian and Jayhawk and Anglophile . . . and this leads me to students who I taught and how have become friends and with whom I journeyed, both literally and figuratively.

I could go on and on.  Jacomo Chorale.  Christ Community Church.  Ball State University Singers.  Graceland University.  Grace Episcopal Church.  Friends and loves and mentors and guides.

This web of Providence is complex.  And yet the journey is simple.  Keep on walking. Take one step at a time.  Carry everything with you in your heart, for you are surely a product of all that has come before.

The bottom line: things happen to you, and things happen around you.  It’s what happens inside you that really counts.

Luck?  Providence?  I care not to quibble over terms.  I’ll keep living the journey, and hope that before I’m done, the world will be a better place for the few steps I took along the way.


What arrived the other day? My first-ever royalty check specifically for solo songs. I’m delighted!!
My setting of “Storypeople Songs” will be performed at Northwestern University in early March as part of a degree recital.  The event happens to coincide with a visit of my own to Chicago, so I’ll attend the recital that day!