Tag Archives: sabbatical

What’s next?

Sabbatical has finally begun.

Well . . . sabbatical has finally begun in that the big curriculum project is now off my desk and on to its next step, and my flurry of travels is over for a few days, and the NASM training is complete, and so on.

Notice my glee at finishing the curriculum proposals?

What’s next?

Circus Harmony! Having attended several practice sessions, I now have a stronger sense of what the musical needs are this year — and of how much music I’m actually going to need to compose. So that project starts immediately.

Here’s some of Circus Harmony, last year:

https://youtu.be/dKps7k2G4FY

And Variety! Our concert is less than two weeks away.

And this year’s Christmas carol, which I think is going to be a New Year carol instead.

And the ongoing tasks of cleaning and purging and reclaiming corners of my home. And forging new relationships. And some visits to the Saint Louis Art Museum, including one yesterday.

Today? Lunch with my priest. A voice lesson. And extra rehearsal with the Variety kids.

But first, a Vienna meeting at Webster, and finishing the admit letters from last Friday. (The Webster work never stops.)

National Portrait Gallery

Since the building was very close to a Metro stop, I made three visits to the National Portrait Gallery during my recent D.C. trip.

Part of this famous old building was the Civil War hospital where Clara Barton served.  She later founded the American Red Cross.  Walt Whitman walked these same floors.

And Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball was held in this room:

Amazing to think of the ghosts that inhabit this space!

From the third-floor Twentieth Century Americans exhibit, these performers caught my eye:

And of course I couldn’t miss the new portrait of Michelle Obama!

More pandas

Since my conference hotel in D.C. last week was an easy (uphill) walk to the National Zoo, I took some time to see the panda bears.

The male and female adults were in separate enclosures, and one of the three Washington-born panda cubs was on display in his indoor enclosure.

Mei Xiang, the momma.

Bei Bei the cub was adorable, and playful too!

Dumbarton

On my last day in Washington, D.C. last week, I visited two places that have long been on my list — Dumbarton House and Dumbarton Oaks.

These two estates, vastly different from each other, take their names from a grant of land made by Queen Anne in 1702.

Dumbarton House is a Georgian estate home sitting on the eastern edge of Georgetown. Visitors can gain a sense of what privilege was like in the early 1800s in the mid-Atlantic states. 

Tea-cup and saucer on table.
Entry hall.
Lockset on front door.
Vases on mantel.

Dumbarton Oaks is known variously for its collection of Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and European art works; for its extensive and impressive garden; for being the site of some of the talks that led to the establishment of the United Nations; and for Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks concerto.  Of interest to me was the Steinway D grand piano, with signed photos of masters who played in that massive music room — Stravinsky, Isaac Stern, Nadia Boulanger.

Guggenheim

In all of my NYC trips, I have never gone to the Guggenheim.  My continued attempts to go, only to find them closed, have become a private joke.

But this trip, I found them open, and with a magnificent exhibit of works of Hilma af Klint. These are otherworldly paintings, begun and finished in a white heat.

Group X, Alterpieces

A few of the museum’s permanent collection works were on display as well:

Degas: Dancers in Green and Yellow
Toulouse-Lautrec: In the Salon