Dear friends and family around the world,
I write on a Saturday evening, just two weeks before the conclusion of the year 2016. What a momentous, challenging, and rich year this has been!
At work: retirements, two new tenure-line hires, enrollment growth, budget challenges, a wonderful studio of students, success as a pedagogue, a research grant.
25 Lawn Place, dressed for the season.
From a kid in Willow Springs. One of my oldest ornaments.
At home: a year with Auggie, a pup just as delightful and attentive as Samson ever was. New windows. Continued work in the garden. No other major renovations this year.
In music: less composing than I’d like, but loads of new music learned. I have a grant to record two sets of Storypeople Songs, and one set is in the can already. Now I need to write the other set and get it recorded! And my UK trip included the choir from Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral singing my own “Forest Park” setting of the Preces & Responses.
In travel: NYC in June, Chicago a couple of times, Atlanta in July, Santa Fe and Interlochen and Iowa City and Cleveland and Cincinnati in October, Dallas in January. Three weeks in England in July, including a week in Exeter and a week in Norwich and my 55th birthday celebration abroad. Several trips home to Lee’s Summit. And ending the year, later this month, in Hong Kong.
Farm Scene, Indiana.
In family: nephew Blayne married, and niece Kristen engaged. Niece Anna still in college, and nephews Luke and Joseph still home schooled. Pop and Jo in their 80s and getting along.
In the world: brokenness and anger all around, with no signs of abating. A national election that did not go as I wished. Rancor and drama and war on the world scene. Some days . . . hope and despair in equal measure.
In theatre: Old Wicked Songs at New Jewish, Atomic at New Line, A Christmas Carol at the Rep.
In the studio: four kids to state contest, all with top ratings at the end of the day; six new voice students this autumn; doing some of the best teaching of my life.
And not worth noting, but I will anyway: four new pairs of shoes this year, and three new pairs of spectacles. But no significant weight loss.
May the blessings of the season be real, and the hopes for 2017 become truth.