For a teacher of music, few events are more intensely satisfying that a degree recital done well.
I never gave a senior recital in college, but I did sing a graduate recital, and of course had three doctoral conducting recitals.
I also supervised four junior and senior recitals at the college in Kentucky where I spent one academic year in the late 1990s.
On Friday evening last week, one of my advisees, a young man who loves to make people laugh and who has a true zest for life, gave a student recital to conclude his university studies. Domenic Mendoza sang with passion and purpose, negotiating languages quite well, and moving many of us to tears with his rendition of Malotte’s “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Astute readers will recognize Dom from the video of him curled up on my office floor as if I were a tyrant and he the lowly office clerk.
I’m proud to know this guy, and glad to know that he will yet be around for a while as a campus minister at Webster.
Week One of the five long ones is now ending.
I am home now, at 9.15, listening to SLSO play Sibelius 2, one of my favorite symphonies. I was to be there tonight . . . at Powell Hall to hear this work live.
But Matt Pentecost intervened. When your student is singing a leading role in an opera, you go. Matt kicked butt tonight as Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief by Gian Carlo Menotti, presented by Gateway Opera. His voice was perfect for the space. He sang beautifully. He was funny. And I’m one very proud voice teacher.
Tomorrow is a Webster University student composers concert at Christ Church Cathedral. Sometime tomorrow I also need to write for my theory class an explanation of how we modulate in music, and I need to grade papers, and I need to finish marking up all my Regional Arts Commission grant applications before the review session on Wednesday.
But now? Quacking oboes and ringing horns and thrilling strings. And the brass chorales. Ah, Sibelius!!
Well, as I write this morning, nearing 11 a.m., I haven’t even checked to see what I’m supposed to be doing today.
Instead, I had a lie-in, then a lazy breakfast. I have attempted to light housekeeping chores. And I’m on my third cup of coffee.
Today? One voice lesson. A trip to Costco. A show at school tonight. And a list of things to get done.
The week has been full and rich, with wall-to-wall activity at school. Last evening’s composers’ concert was fun, with many different styles on display. I’ve been encouraged by three people in the last two days to think about writing a musical. Our guest seminar yesterday was well-attended. Samson is healing well. And spring is arriving. So . . . all is well.
I cut three daffodils from the yard this morning, the first daffodils of the season. They now grace by mantle. In due course will come tulips, then peonies, then lilac. This season is truly filled with the seemingly simply but oh-so-complex wonder and beauty of nature!
This is the season that wears me out.
After having the better part of five weeks where I could put my leg up every night, tonight starts the long march toward Finals Week and fewer evening commitments.
This weekend: sing on a composer showcase concert on Friday evening; attend a Conservatory show on Saturday evening; sing Sunday afternoon on a showcase concert at a local church, then attend a Music concert in the evening.
Next week: attend concert on Monday; produce a guest lecture on Tuesday; home on Wednesday evening; attend a Shakespeare production on Thursday; attend senior recital on Friday; attend SLSO on Saturday; attend community engagement concert on Sunday.
The week of April 7 is very similar, except that I will leave on Friday, after new-student auditions, by train for Lee’s Summit for the induction ceremony on Saturday, then return by train on Sunday.
And then we have Holy Week. And then the final concert week of the semester.
Looking at the next month, the only night I’m at home is Wednesday evenings. Every other night, save for one Thursday, has something on it.
Such is the life this time of year! Jean the Magnificent and I were lamenting this week, and then we realized that every year — truly, every year — these first five weeks after Spring Break are the busiest of the year with performances, ending one semester, advising and enrolling for another, planning another year, concluding and beginning and continuing. It’s all part of the cycle. And we’d have it no other way.
What a delight today in Little Rock . . . to see colleagues and friends from around a multi-state region. Amy Rosine Underwood and I were in doctoral study together. Jeff Thyer was my Ball State student, as was Jill Burleson. Bruce Dickerson has been a friend and colleague for many years, as have many others from the Kansas City area. Gretchen Harrison carries on a legacy that makes other envious. And on and on.
The Webster students have arrived. While I am back in my room resting my leg, they are at the evening concert tonight featuring Arkansas choirs.
My bow tie was a hit today.
Tomorrow calls for an early start, as the Chamber Singers have a crack-of-dawn sound check, then a 10.30 a.m. concert at Robinson Center Concert hall. And then I head back home, but not before seeing Jimmy Stevens off to Vienna at the Little Rock airport.
And Spring is here!
I’m in Little Rock. And after getting the Webster University exhibit all set up this morning, and then having breakfast with a college from the University of Central Missouri, I am taking some leisure in my hotel room overlooking downtown Little Rock.
(And I’m using ‘leisure’ so that I can tie this in with my Throwback Thursday photo, from 1976.)
My leg is already tired. I slept poorly last evening. But I’m delighted to be here, and amubalatory. And I’m already delighted to see many old friends from the last 25 years as a choral musician.
Yesterday’s transit was long — six hours, in fact — but I got through three musicals: Yank, Closer Than Ever, and Subways Are For Sleeping. An eclectic line-up had my mind going full-tilt at times. And at one point I was doing my best to not cry. Such is the life of a sap like me.
Nap time now, before five hours on the exhibit floor today.
I have just attended my first evening concert at school since the fall/break/surgery/invalidity. I’m so proud of our Chamber Singers as they head off on tour and in performance for the Southwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association!
Arriving back home, I find that my neighbor Nancy has left me homemade chicken soup, home guacamole, and cornbread and chips. What a delight!
I am so glad to have back Ingrid the Volvo. My friend K’s Mazda truck has been a godsend, but I’m ready for my little sports car again, at least back and forth to campus.
The basement steps were a chore tonight, but not a challenge, and I now have some clean socks and pajamas.
I took a good look at the knee tonight. (and now to protect those with sensitive sensibilities….) Click here to see how it’s healing . . . which is pretty well indeed for having had surgery just 24 days ago. The ankle is still swelling somewhat, especially if I walk or stand for more than about two minutes. So I keep the leg elevated as much as possible!
Thursday afternoon. Spring Break.
Since I’ve been rather lethargic for the past few weeks (for perfectly valid reasons such as intramedullary nailing, thank you very much), this week has not seemed so much like ‘break’ as like a continuation of the previous couple of weeks.
I’m mindful that I had surgery three weeks ago today, and that that surgery consisted of a fairly invasive procedure on my right leg.
And I’m delighted with how little pain and swelling I’m actually having, although walking with the cane, as I’ve done for the past week, is harder than getting around with the walker. So I use the walker upstairs, and when I’m out in crowds, such as the trip to the grocer’s yesterday.
I worked all of Tuesday at the office, and a half-day yesterday. This morning I put together brunch for what was supposed to be six students, of whom only two showed up. We had a filling feast of baked French toast with butter & brown sugar topping, fried breakfast meats of pork pieces, and fresh fruit. Then we got to giggling about writing a musical about the neighbors — any neighbors, but especially a few of mine.
Dinner this evening is slow-cooker meat loaf, roasted root veggies, garlic green beans, and panna cotta with two beloved former students. I’m expecting we shall sing some too.
Tomorrow I shall sleep as late as I like, since Saturday and Sunday are busy!