Category Archives: Webster

Off I go

Toronto. Vienna. Moscow.

24 hours of transit commences now.


The week

What a week this was . . . !

I could barely summon the energy for a dog-walk Saturday morning, so tired was I.

This past week was my first full week at the office in the last month. We had a power outage, a canceled afternoon & evening of classes thanks to the threat (unrealized) of ice; I had a couple of days away for illness and a day away for travel.

And so this week felt grueling, but I like gruel.

I sang a cabaret show on Tuesday evening, and as usual felt the weariness 36 hours later on Thursday.

District solo & ensemble contest was this weekend. Aaron and Ronan received ratings of 1, and Isaac a 2. These ratings are accurate reflections of what the adjudicator heard, I think. (And then I found out that Grace went to contest unknownst to me, and also took home a 1 rating!)

Between their sings on Friday, I spent more money than necessary at Costco; bought some Lucky Brand jeans and a couple of pairs of socks at Nordstrom Rack; and enjoyed some Tex-Mex. But their bookends of the schedule meant a late arrival home on Friday.

And after Ronan sang on Saturday, I dropped by the shoe repair store in Ladue, then lunched on Thai noodles at Pei Wei, then went to see my niece Anna as she started her shift at Barnes & Noble.

My living room is under repair and renovation, and things are a mess. I don’t like mess.

We had our fifth audition day in the last 29 days on Friday. And orchestra concert started the week, and a choral concert will finish it this afternoon.

My Messing Award was announced.

And we received unexpected news that our assistant professor posting was approved and is now live, so I spent part of Friday evening sending emails far and wide about the suddenly-available position. We need a skill set and background that is somewhat extraordinary, so this search will be a fun one!

I saw all but one of my students this week, both at Webster and at home.

The decennial accreditation process with the National Association of Schools of Music has begun in earnest. Hours fly by when having that fun!

I closed on the refinance of my house, and am now in a shorter mortgage with happier terms.

So, after this litany of why I’m beat, the thanksgivings —

I am thankful for, and recognize that I am blessed with:

  • A home
  • A dog
  • Job security
  • A salary that leaves me comfortable
  • The promise of money in the bank when I retire in a few more years
  • Joyous anticipation of several international trips in the next few years
  • A voice with which to teach and enlighten and entertain
  • Faith
  • No worries about where my next meal is going to be found, or how I will get someplace
  • Good and talented students who wish to learn and grow
  • Family that is well-knit and gets along
  • The promise of Spring, since my daffodils and tulips are now emerging from sleep
  • The luxury of burning candles for mood and scent, and not out of necessity.

Messing Award

I am delighted to acknowledge the generous research grant that Webster University has awarded me for Summer 2018!

[This is the big happy news that I got a month ago, but needed to withhold until my employer made their own announcement.]

The Messing Award is perhaps the most prestigious internal grant award available to faculty.  The grant, for international research and travel during the summer months, provides one full-time faculty member per year funding for an international summer activity that strengthens the curriculum of the faculty member’s department or improves the teaching/learning relationship.

The Rathaus, or City Hall.

So I’ll be going to Vienna for the best part of July 2018.

My proposal focused on curriculum development:



I propose to spend three weeks in Vienna in Summer 2018, focusing on curricular development for music majors and WINS affiliate music majors; building and strengthening relationships with key local individuals and institutions; and making solid specific plans for summer study opportunities.  I will commit the award funds to airfare, lodging, and daily transit and food as I pound the pavement, visiting people and places as we seek to further the existing infrastructure and capacity.

This Messing Award application requests funding to support broad-scope Department of Music and WINS curricular development, rather than an individual course or project related specifically to my own teaching.  In this regard, I am applying as the ten-year Chair of the Department of Music, rather than as an individual faculty member – but with a clear result of strengthening the curriculum in the Department of Music.

The proposal listed possible outcomes:

  • Creation of additional curricular opportunities in Vienna for Webster music majors and WINS music majors
  • Agreement on a master syllabus for a new GCP fine arts interdisciplinary course focused on Vienna fine and performing arts
  • Solid inventory of available and interested teachers for all instruments and genres normally taught at undergraduate level
  • Groundwork and three-year implementation plan for summer music activities in Vienna
  • Survey of locations that Webster University can appropriately utilize/rent for music-related teaching and performing
  • Friend-building for partnerships amongst local institutions

Vienna, here I come!

As of February 6, my flat is booked in the 4th district, complete with a grand piano:


My little cabaret concert is over. I am relieved. The audience seemed to have a good time, and I certainly left some of my soul on the stage.

My youngest sister and her youngest son came to visit from Lee’s Summit.

Here are some photos from Tuesday.

Downtown Rotary

Two wonderful Webster students and I appeared on Thursday at the weekly Downtown Rotary Club luncheon at the Missouri Athletic Club.   We were the post-Valentine’s Day entertainment in a lighter program.  I’m grateful to my colleague Beth Russell for inviting us!

Some Strauss, Puccini, Novello, Lerner & Loewe, and Kerrigan and Lowdermilk filled the room.

Thanks to club photographer Doug Russell for permission to post some of photos from the day:






Ten years ago

Ten years ago today I sent an email to Peter Sargent, Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts at Webster University, officially accepting the appointment as Chair of the Department of Music.

Ten years……

This is longer than I’ve lived in any city in my life, and longer than I’ve stayed in any single job. And what a good ten years it’s been!

From ten years ago:

My new office Webster University.