The NASM visitors left Wednesday morning.
I finally retrieved the workroom binders and stuff this morning:
This is four semesters of syllabi, all sort of management documents, two years of concert programs, and so on.
Now we wait.
We provided (one month ago) a 400+ page self-study to NASM and to these visitors. Over the last four weeks we have complied thousands more pages — four semesters of syllabi, several dozen color-coded transcripts, faculty curriculum vitae, retention reports, and more.
The two visitors will review documentation, meet with students and faculty and staff and administrators, stop in on as many classes and lessons and ensembles as they can in two days, and be treated to a showcase recital featuring students from each major and year and school.
And then Wednesday dawns, God willing, and we return to normal order, awaiting the Visitors’ Report that will arrive sometime in April.
This process has been challenging and tiring, and I’m ready for some normalcy to return!
I am in Chicago as Webster University’s voting representative to the annual meeting of National Association of Schools of Music.
The meeting is always the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, and we are often in warmer climates, but Chicago is the place this year. I arrived early to take in some of my favorite places at the Art Institute of Chicago, and to catch a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert.
Around the conference sessions, I’ve also had hotel-room time to finish some projects and write plenty of emails. I’m feeling a bit more caught-up at the office.
One of the joys of these conferences is seeing friends and colleagues from around the nation. Hallway conversations turn into meals or drinks. Quick hugs turn into lingering conversations. And all is right with the world.
Another joy? Food!
I dined on Chicago-style pizza, AKA ‘heart attack in a deep dish,’ on Sunday evening, at Lou Malnati’s around the corner on State Street. The buttery crust was heaven.
Afterward, walking back to the hotel, I was asked by four nice men hanging around street corner “Are you stuffed, ’cause I’m really hungry”. I gladly handed over my box with the last two chunks of pizza, and in fact had left the pizza joint with that box, hoping to run into someone who looked like a meal would be a nice thing. I demurred, though, at buying the same man a 40-oz. beer in the corner 7-11.
The Hilton Chicago has a huge gingerbread display in the elevator lobby on the main floor:
The conference’s plenary sessions always feel a bit like an old Soviet five-year meeting, with dutiful approvals of pre-ordained decisions.
But there’s some fun too, like asking the question “Which of these photos best represents music theory meetings at a conference like this?”.
This was a rolling photo display on a meeting room call board . . . .
Finally, an obligatory selfie from Sunday morning:
I think I had on the only pink shirt in a room of 800 people.
Returning from Morocco, jet-lagged and weary and worn, but carefree in some ways, I am now back at the office.
And the cares have returned!
Friday is our last audition day of the season. We should see another 10 students or so who wish to come to Webster.
I’ll take the weekend off, then hit the summer punch list hard on Monday. Our decennial accreditation visit happens in just over a half-year, so much of my summer will be spent on that.
The next holiday beckons in early July!
Memories of this week:
The annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music is now over.
Our plenary sessions were held in this large ballroom, where in 1992 Bill Clinton picked up the sax and played a ditty at his first inaugural ball.
But by the end of the conference, this is how I felt:
That’s D.C. As in Washington. Not DC. As in Dr. Carter.
Nevertheless, DC enjoyed a sunny Saturday in D.C.
Up at dawn to prepare for the second and third installments of the NASM workshop. I’m now a visiting evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Music.
The Metro was running slowly on a Saturday morning, and I went the wrong direction on my transfer, so my 35-minute commute to the conference hotel took an hour.
Leaving the hotel for lunch, I decided first on a manicure, and then an Indian food buffet, all adjacent to the Woodley Park Metro stop.
Then the afternoon session was done early, so I headed to Eastern Market to shop the stalls and grab something for dinner. While I could have purchased some knick-knacks and things for the walls, I didn’t. I did, however, grab some steamed dumplings and a banana pudding. And then after a nap at the hotel, had my dinner in my room.
Poking around on Capitol Hill, outside of the touristy area, is a balm after several days.
And then it was time to head to the Kennedy Center (via Metro and shuttle bus) to see the National Symphony Orchestra in their 12,775th official concert. The program, conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto, featured the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto in a thrilling — electrifying, even — performance by Denis Kozhukin. Thirty-two years old. Russian. Impeccable technique. But heart beyond his years.
I passed by Mr. Lincoln on the way back to the hotel. I’ll see him tomorrow.
Time for a late-evening call with Yufei!