Tag Archives: ball state university singers

The Capitol

December 2001. Ball State University Singers were visiting Washington, D.C. to sing at the White House during a Christmas open house.

The day before, we were met at the east steps of the House of Representatives at the Capitol, by none other than our congressman, Mike Pence. He was gracious and kind. Pence escorted us up the stairs and onto the House floor.

Congressman Pence, lower right. I’m to his left.

Every time I see an image of the House of Representatives chamber, I remember sitting in those very seats we see on the television and in photos.

This week that chamber was desecrated by seditious rioters. While Pence did not directly whip that mob into a frenzy, he bears some of the guilt, responsibility, and shame, thanks to his servile and spineless mumbo-jumbo over the last four years, and his willing service to His Horridness. At the least, he is an enabler.

Today, though, I choose to remember the House in a happier light, and Pence in a moment of kindness to a professor and his students.

At the White House.

Ball State University Singers

In a few minutes, I’ll be on a Zoom session with a reunion of Ball State University Singers members from the early 2000s.

And in honor of this reunion, a little holiday cheer from the group, and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

Each year Jan Richard handpaints ornaments for Ball State University Singers.
I have a bunch of them.

Another school year

Another school year is beginning.

Contracts commenced yesterday for the 2020-21 academic year.

I’ll save for some other time the comments about how strange this year feels already.

When I was in high school, I thought that teaching was the path I would take.  Music came easily to me, so music education seemed the right road.  Working at Windermere Baptist Assembly the summer before my senior year of high school, though, I felt a strong call to do church music.  (This was one of four or five times in my life when I felt an overwhelming, deep, intrinsic presence of something greater than me.)

So church music was the path, and off I went to Southwest Baptist University.  And then, part-way through my first year of college, I realized that God’s call on my life was broader perhaps than solely church music.  I recall clearly: I was in a course entitled Introduction to Religious Education (the topic in which my father took his graduate degree) and was lit up by Maslow’s hierarchy and learning theories.  So I changed my major to religious studies.

I expected to live my life as a musician and pastoral type in Southern Baptist settings.  But life intervened.  The circuitous path that followed was something I now liken to wilderness years. And in December 1987 I was asked to teach voice lessons to a teenager whose voice had recently dropped.

In quick succession: quit my day job, hang out a shingle as voice and piano teacher, start raising rates to whittle away the chaff, take a part-time gig at the local community college, grab a church gig, gain a Master of Arts in Music, start a doctorate.  That was all in a span of nine years.

Teaching found me.  Music found me again, claiming me from my wilderness.

And here I am today, commencing my 22nd year of full-time university education, and my 33rd year of being in love with teaching.

Memories from the years:

#TBT: Final month

Scenes from my final month as Director of Ball State University Singers, April 2008 —


Josh Stierley has a birthday today.  I caught up with him last year in Chicago, and also have a photo I found of the two of us while he was in Ball State University Singers. We are both aging well.

Happy birthday, Josh!

Beloved former student Josh Stierley, now working on a doctorate at UIC.