Twenty years ago this month I began my stewardship of Ball State University Singers — an entertainment group, a leadership training ensemble, a legacy.
Here’s that first cast:
I love my jobs.
I just love my jobs.
Teaching. Composing. Sitting at the piano for hours every day.
Could life be better than this . . . moving the needle in other people’s lives?
A TBT photo, from 20+ years ago, when I was an adjunct professor at a community college in Kansas City, even then working with others for greater good:
Well, it’s been a week.
(Read that with a sigh and a whimper.)
My body called off after Circus Harmony closed. I crashed hard on Monday, with mold allergy issues really getting the best of me. Perseverance was the motto, but Monday night was a rugged and toss/turn sleep.
I stayed home and slept a good chunk of Tuesday, finally going to the office to teach a few lessons before returning home to go to bed early.
This was supposed to be the first normal week of the semester, and it has been in that I’ve seen all my Webster University voice students, most of my private students, taken all the meetings, powered through the to-do lists, and such. But the allergies (wet weather, not dipping below freezing = mold) have held sway.
And the impeachment tribunal is just making me grumpy. I know who in my estimation the traitors are. And I just don’t understand a good 40% of this country.
Muny auditions are coming up, and for the Webster kids have already taken place. That’s been the focus of lessons this week.
I booked this week a music-directing gig for next year.
Friday and Saturday are audition days at Webster. We’ll see a dozen prospective new students before this weekend is over. Audition days are always exciting, bringing promise of new faces and voices and a superior freshman class.
I wrote two songs this week!
Projects and events this past week:
The beard is now gone. My face appreciates being clean-shaven. Mariele the Volvo is a delight! And I paid bills this week, with a few shekels left over. Apparently some big football game is taking place Sunday evening?
And Great Britain Brexits today. Good lord.
This announcement was posted Friday to faculty and staff in the Department of Music:
So, big changes are in the offing…..
I do believe with my whole heart that there exists a ‘driving purgatory.’ And that purgatory has a special place reserved for people who drive 55 miles per hour, hanging out in the center left lane on a four-lane freeway.
And for those who don’t signal when turning, a special puragatory.
And for those who frigging don’t know how to use the yield sign at I-64 and Kingshighway, eternal purgation!
The Circus Harmony music is all fitting together nicely. The director and producer stopped by my home on Monday evening (after I arrived home from Variety Chorus), and I played tunes for them from the cache of things I’ve been scribbling. I think we are all on the same chart now, and that makes me very happy. This is going to be a fun show to compose.
I ordered holiday gifts on Monday for my colleagues at work: their own individual copy of Mapping Your Academic Career. This book by Gary Burge was instrumental in awakening me to the career shifts and focuses that I see playing out in myself and others. I think it high time that my colleagues each have a copy.
The new computer at work is finally up and running.
Speaking of Variety, the holiday show is Thursday, December 12 at 7.30 p.m. at The Sheldon.
We ran all the music on Monday evening this week, and find that we have a ways to go with memorization. But these kids are brilliant, and we shall get there!
And this public service reminder:
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.