Tag Archives: sabbatical

A week

Well, this has been a week!

By that I mean that Monday felt like I was in the frying pan at the office, and the rest of the week has felt like the fire.

But this sabbatical time is an incredible privilege.  I am truly grateful.

And the return to the office, in the midst of a school year, was bound to be a rush.

It has been.

But I’m smiling.

 

Seems like

A commence-sabbatical gift from a student.

Ken in Kansas wrote about my sabbatical the other “Seems like it’s been a good one.”

My response: “You know me.  Not nearly enough of the planned work accomplished, but I’ve been happily occupied.  Still too many books to read, too many musical ideas swimming around my head that need to get on paper, too many journals stacked up.  And too much stuff in the house that I had intended to tidy and purge.

“But YES.”

And then I start thinking.

In the last year, trips to Austria and Sweden and Italy and Russia and Spain and Morocco and Canada.  GOOD LORD!

My official statement about sabbatical projects: “engage in professional development and personal enrichment and creative activities.”

In the last five months:

  • music director/composer for Circus Harmony
  • Variety Children’s Charity chorus conductor (prepping now for a concert with Sting)
  • two NASM-related trips to Washington, D.C.
  • a handful of cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory and Missouri Botanical Garden
  • successfully kept/keeping sourdough starter alive
  • two trips to Chicago
  • Thanksgiving in NYC
  • and three more NYC trips, with shows including The Prom, The Choirboy, Superhero, Kiss Me Kate, and Merrily We Roll Along
  • major curriculum revisions signed, sealed, delivered at Webster
  • NASM HEADS report finished at Webster
  • talk and dinner with Jamie Bernstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein
  • pandas at the National Zoo!
  • two house-party singing performances with Dr. Ruth Price
  • lyrics written for a new super-song based on my visit to Saint Andrew’s Church, Tangier
  • visits to the Saint Louis Art Museum, Campbell House, the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • all sorts of new pairs of spectacles
  • service on the Faculty Research Grants committee at Webster
  • advocacy consulting with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • Crossroads Hospice volunteer training
  • several books read . . . .
  • lots of new music learned and ready to be taught
  • hundreds of voice lessons at home
  • taxes finished and filed
  • Vienna curriculum meeting in NYC, and follow-up report and planning
  • three senior voice students coached and managed through college musical theatre auditions
  • shepherded four high school students to top ratings at District solo/ensemble contest
  • lunches with alumni and friends
  • successfully passed an annual physical
  • got scolded by my dental technician
  • worshipped at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, St. Mary the Virgin Times Square, St. James Cathedral Chicago, Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral Kansas City, and Washington National Cathedral
  • blogged daily, and wrote in my journal almost daily
  • lived and loved and left, and am single again.

This is not a bad list at all!  Professional development?  Yup.  Personal enrichment and creativity?  You bet!!

While I was removed from the daily scrum at Webster, I never truly left the fray.  As I said to a friend the other day, “my role and duties at Webster pervade who I am at this point in my life.  I can’t talk away from thinking about the bigger picture, and all that entails.”  And I don’t mind that all.

But I am indeed grateful for some time away from the scrum!


Some photos from sabbatical:

Monday in NYC

A full day!  11,415 steps, according to the iPhone.  That’s 3.6 miles of walking. I believe it, based on how my feet feel Monday evening.

Looking west from my hotel room window, morning and late afternoon:

And looking north on 8th Avenue:

Notice how the tall buildings do not cast a shadow north of Columbus Circle. That’s Central Park territory.
Happy Socks = happy man.

Yufei and I had drinks at The Aviary at the Mandarin Hotel on Columbus Circle.  And we had some incredibly good Iberico ham.

From my walk back to the hotel tonight:

I took Jennifer Johnson Cano to lunch on Monday, and also spent a couple of glorious hours at the New York City Public Library performing arts branch at Lincoln Center.  Walking across Lincoln Center plaza with Jennifer felt like something out of a movie. And I had drinks and a nosh with my former student Jordan Parente Monday evening.

From the Library today, Jerome Robbins‘ Lincoln Center Honors award:

Yufei reminded me of why I love NYC so much:

Packing

I keep a travel bag packed, since I’m away so much.  Toiletries never get unpacked, and anything else I need — Euros, British pounds, travel pillow, electrical adapter — all stay in the same drawer for easy access.

So returning home from NYC on Thursday, I loaded up the laundry baskets, and started transferring pills and toiletries and the like to the larger suitcase for international travel, because . . .

I leave Monday for Tangier, Morocco!

Going to a Mediterranean climate for a few days means a change of clothes.  No raincoats or jackets for winter in NYC or Chicago.  In fact, no heavier twill trousers.  Here’s why:

Tangier will have highs in the 60s, and lows in the low 50s overnight, the entire time I’m there.  And enough humidity that the climate will feel like April in Saint Louis.

So I’ve pulled some short-sleeve summer shirts, a few linen shirts, and the tan twills.  Shoe decisions will come next.

(Lest I be foolish, I will pack a light rain-proof jacket, just in case!)