As I was going through photos this summer, I discovered various photos that I had totally un-remembered.
This is how I feel already, and contracts haven’t even started.
But some parts of the day are more like this, all at the same time:
Contracts? Let’s not forget about the 18 private lessons I’ll be teaching most weeks too. Students have emerged and want to study with me. Hallelujah! But I need 27 hours each day.
And then there are these days:
Many of my Webster University voice students are engaged this summer in theatre work.
Jacob Flekier (BFA Musical Theatre ’19) is in 101 Dalmations at Stages in June, and then returns to Saint Louis to play Eugene Morris Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs at New Jewish Theatre in October. https://jacobflekier.com/
Cecily Dowd (Musical Theatre rising junior) is at Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla, performing in My Fair Lady.
Noah Cornwell (Musical Theatre rising senior) heads to Hope, Michigan for a summer full of roles at the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre.
Phil Solheim (rising sophomore in Musical Theatre) is at Crane River Theatre in Kearney, Nebraska in Newsies.
Benjamin B. Love (BFA Musical Theatre ’19) appears at The Muny in 1776, playing the role of Leather Apron. He heads to Minneapolis after that to rehearse for the China leg of Nickelodeon’s Paw Patrol Live tour, which takes him to multiple locations in China, October – January 2020. benjaminblove.com
Sarah Dao (Musical Theatre rising sophomore) is in Kansas City for part of the summer, in Pippin with Music Theatre Kansas City.
Magnus Kroken (Musical Theatre rising sophomore) goes to Shawnee Theatre in Indiana for a show.
My Music Directing major are staying busy too!
I am returning home from Helena, Montana after a whirlwind weekend. Fly in on Friday. Adjudicate and catch a show on Saturday, thanks to Grandstreet Theatre. Fly back to STL on Sunday. Catch a concert at school Sunday evening.
And now Finals Week is here, with juries during the first three days of the week.
Grandstreet staff booked a room for me at The Sanders, Helena’s Bed & Breakfast. The hospitality was wonderful.
I was especially delighted to find that the B&B is owned and operated by a great-grandson of one of the five Ringling Bros. Given my newfound circus interests, I enjoyed seeing some artifacts, including original elephant headgear from the Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus, photos and memorabilia, a show-ring saddle (now refurbished) from Alf. Ringling’s family, and loads of cards and prints.
Grandstreet Theatre hosts an annual scholarship competition for some of the 200 or so students in their youth program. I spent the day adjudicating auditions, as part of a team of a local actress, and a Seattle-based stage director. We made a great team! The kids were so well-prepared thanks to the Grandstreet education staff, led by the wonderful Marianne Adams.
Saturday evening we took in a production of The Bridges of Madison County. I had listened previously to the cast album, and I teach a couple of these songs, but this was a new show for me. It’s quite effective. And when “It all fades away” finally hits as his 11-o’clock-number, the show feels magical. And when she sings the closing number, “Always better,” the tears flow yet again.
The solid cast in Helena made the most of a difficult score by Jason Robert Brown.
More than five years ago now. From my sabbatical five years ago.
Ken in Kansas wrote about my sabbatical the other “Seems like it’s been a good one.”
My response: “You know me. Not nearly enough of the planned work accomplished, but I’ve been happily occupied. Still too many books to read, too many musical ideas swimming around my head that need to get on paper, too many journals stacked up. And too much stuff in the house that I had intended to tidy and purge.
And then I start thinking.
In the last year, trips to Austria and Sweden and Italy and Russia and Spain and Morocco and Canada. GOOD LORD!
My official statement about sabbatical projects: “engage in professional development and personal enrichment and creative activities.”
In the last five months:
- music director/composer for Circus Harmony
- Variety Children’s Charity chorus conductor (prepping now for a concert with Sting)
- two NASM-related trips to Washington, D.C.
- a handful of cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory and Missouri Botanical Garden
- successfully kept/keeping sourdough starter alive
- two trips to Chicago
- Thanksgiving in NYC
- and three more NYC trips, with shows including The Prom, The Choirboy, Superhero, Kiss Me Kate, and Merrily We Roll Along
- major curriculum revisions signed, sealed, delivered at Webster
- NASM HEADS report finished at Webster
- talk and dinner with Jamie Bernstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein
- pandas at the National Zoo!
- two house-party singing performances with Dr. Ruth Price
- lyrics written for a new super-song based on my visit to Saint Andrew’s Church, Tangier
- visits to the Saint Louis Art Museum, Campbell House, the Missouri Botanical Garden
- all sorts of new pairs of spectacles
- service on the Faculty Research Grants committee at Webster
- advocacy consulting with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
- Crossroads Hospice volunteer training
- several books read . . . .
- lots of new music learned and ready to be taught
- hundreds of voice lessons at home
- taxes finished and filed
- Vienna curriculum meeting in NYC, and follow-up report and planning
- three senior voice students coached and managed through college musical theatre auditions
- shepherded four high school students to top ratings at District solo/ensemble contest
- lunches with alumni and friends
- successfully passed an annual physical
- got scolded by my dental technician
- worshipped at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, St. Mary the Virgin Times Square, St. James Cathedral Chicago, Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral Kansas City, and Washington National Cathedral
- blogged daily, and wrote in my journal almost daily
- lived and loved and left, and am single again.
This is not a bad list at all! Professional development? Yup. Personal enrichment and creativity? You bet!!
While I was removed from the daily scrum at Webster, I never truly left the fray. As I said to a friend the other day, “my role and duties at Webster pervade who I am at this point in my life. I can’t talk away from thinking about the bigger picture, and all that entails.” And I don’t mind that all.
But I am indeed grateful for some time away from the scrum!
Some photos from sabbatical: