Category Archives: Travel

Seems like

A commence-sabbatical gift from a student.

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.

“But YES.”

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:

NYC stories

Story #1.

There’s a certain kind of older lady in NYC.  She’s short, often slightly hunched.  Bright red lipstick.  Perfect coiffure.  Glasses one or two sizes too big for her face. Walks with a cane.  And always has by her side a minder — either an adult child, or a helper of some sort.

I love little old ladies like this.  They are indomitable.

And endemic on the East Side, especially adjacent to Central Park.

Story #2.

The taxi driver this morning tried to scam me.  I got in his cab.  “So you want the $45 flat rate to LaGuardia?”  I replied that there is now flat rate to LGA, and things escalated from there.  His actions were illegal.  I left his cab.  And I think the hotel bellman was in on the scam: fleece this guy, keep it off the meter, and split the money.

I ended up paying more than $45 for the trip, but I was in the cab legally, as a paying fare, with all rights.

Story #3.

American Airlines to Atlanta.  Gate announcement three times: “The door is closing.”  For a 6.25 a.m. flight, the door closes at 6.15 a.m.

At 6.16, a guy rushes up, not from the direction of the check-in hallway, but from elsewhere further down the terminal.  The door is closed.  He throws his cap, then a fit.  Police nearby intervene.

One minute later, a businessman of some sort arrives from the security check.  He is cordial and immediately booked standby on the next flight.

And at 6.24 a.m., yet another guy rushes up!

I don’t get it.  Oversleep?  OK.  But pushing the clock that much?  Foolish.  I’ll never know the reason, except that the first guy was in the airport already!

“The bestlaid schemes of mice and men oft go askew, and leave us with nothing but grief and pain for promised joy!”
~Robert Burns


Proud teacher

Ben Love and Jacob Flekier performed their senior showcase in New York City this week.  Both are voice students of mine at Webster University.

I’m so proud of these guys!

Photos from the showcase performance:

Also this trip: I caught up with Webster University Department of Music alumna Jennifer Johnson Cano, who is tearing it up on the opera and concert stage, including this week at the Metropolitan Opera.