Category Archives: Webster


This would normally be the week I would be at the International Thespian Society conference, doing the good work of Webster University.

The conference is virtual this year.

Memories from previous years:

Social distance, day 54

On this 54th day of physical distance from others, and now having completed my last interview with students moving on to the third year of school, here’s a little poem about the “last day of school.”

And a screen shot of the setting of the last official 90 minutes of Spring 2020 on the last day of the semester.

Now for a steak dinner!

Summer . . .

I am one week away from the end of this strange, interrupted semester at Webster University.

My last summer trip has just been canceled.

So, with a week to go, I’m thinking of what this summer may be, and realizing that it won’t be like any summer in my last 20 years.

I’m taking a ‘diploma’ course in Jungian archetypes. One-hundred-fifty hours of work! I’ll start this later this week, I think, and pick away at it 10-12 hours a week.

My summer conference about the teaching of contemporary commercial music vocal techniques is canceled, so no trip to Virginia in July. I’ll take the course on-line in its virtual form instead.

My trip to Puerto Rico was already canceled, and it looks like I’ll not be going to New York this summer, either.

So, two courses . . . and books.

I’ve set out some serious reading this summer. Some Albert Camus. Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Believe it or not, War and Peace, which I’ve never read. Perhaps the Wolf Hall trilogy.

And the piles of books about voice-teaching and teaching psychology and story-telling through song . . . all of which have been on the pile for some time now.

I’ll need to pay attention to the body as well. In this eighth week of physical distance, my weight has only gone up slightly, but it needs to come down for the sake of my joints, my heart, and my liver.

I’m betting this summer will also have a pile of Webster work too, since I’m anticipating prepping for on-line instruction (at least partially) of the musicianship course I teach.

A thing

So I did a thing.

I recorded video greetings yesterday for various commencement- and honors-related projects.  The self-tapes took place in my office at home.

Nothing like getting into regalia whilst in lounge pants in University of Kansas crimson and blue, with a Jayhawk embroidered on the leg.

And no shoes or socks.

Nobody was going to see anything below the chest anyhow, right?

Screen captures:

A circle

From a Webster University student this week:

This morning I was looking through my bookshelf, and I opened one of my books that my dad gave me. He buys and sells books, and every once in awhile, he finds a book that he thinks will be useful to me for any reason and gives it to me. Usually, these are field guides or music teaching related.
I opened this book today and found this, and wondered if maybe you had owned this book at some point before me?
And indeed, the student had a copy of a book I took to Goodwill well over a year ago as I was purging my shelves at home and at the office!
Sometimes the universe sends signals.  I haven’t decoded this one yet, but I’m certain the signal is a good one.

New office

Let’s just admit: we are going to be indoors and not at our workplaces for many more weeks.

So on Saturday I moved all the Webster stuff that had been glogging the dining room.  It’s now upstairs in my home office.

When I had hoped that this would be three weeks, the dining room made sense.  But I need to separate my living space from my work space, and the piano cannot be moved (I am there up to seven hours some days!), so the rest of it is now in the home library/office.

On the walls (l-r): a framed first-day cover of UK stamps honoring musicals; a letter from Herbert Howells in his own hand (not to me, but a prized autograph); photos of me after a concert at the White House (top) and a framed print from a lovely visit to Shropshire, UK; and an old London Tube poster showing the say to the various concert halls from Regents Park Tube stop.

Not visible on other walls: a signed copy of a commissioned work from Greg Gilpin; my Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Central Missouri; a large print of a photo I took in Hydra, Greece; reminders of Ralph Vaughan Williams from a visit to his birthplace in Down Ampney, England; a framed, signed letter from Maria von Trapp, written to me in 1985; and a framed remembrance from Ball State University Chamber Singers in 2004.

On my desk: a framed photo of Herbert Howells (one is on my desk at school too), and a remembrance of my beloved boss, Peter Sargent.  And KU paraphernalia.

At home

An Arts & Crafts style, century-old home on Lawn Place in Saint Louis.

My home office is now the Kawai grand piano.  I teach all of my lessons from here, and lead the weekly master class.

Plenty of light illuminates my face for the computer’s camera, and I read music from the iPad.  The external mic and headphones give me better sonics.

It’s not perfect, but some teaching/learning is happening!

For meetings, I move to the dining room table, where I have more room to write and for files.  Plus, it’s a decent change of pace and a different view.

The cooking continues.  Saturday was a full homemade dinner.  Plus homemade bread.  And these sweet/salty/spicy pecans:

Look closely for the opossum, spotted on Friday as she (he?) was stealthy, sticking close to the flower beds and the fronts of the homes across the street:

The City of Saint Louis Forestry division was busy last week at the north end of my street:

Thanks to the kindness of friends with chickens, I have a dozen fresh eggs, gratefully received.