Tag Archives: travel

#TBT: GSE

Nineteen years ago this month.

I was part of a Group Study Exchange of four young (under-40) professionals, going to Brazil from central Indiana, all under the auspices and sponsorship of Rotary International.

This trip changed my life.

Read more: https://jeffreycarter.wordpress.com/travel-memoirs/brasil-2001/.

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.

NASM 2019

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.

Fall Break NYC: heading home

I’m in the Centurion Lounge at Laguardia.  Peace and silence surrounds on a Sunday morning, which is apparently a very quiet time at LGA.  I shan’t complain.

Rain is coming down outdoors.  I can see the seagulls flapping about on the taxiways, and the expanse of Flushing Bay and the East River just beyond.  All is gray.  This is the right day to be leaving New York City.

But what an exceptional week this been.

I started my Fall Break with a meal with Jeff Allison, my beloved former student, now an Ensign in the US Navy, and in medical school.  That I evening I saw another now-former student, Jacob Flekier, in Brighton Beach Memoirs at New Jewish Theatre.  He and I shared a valedictory (benedictory?) dinner and some singing the next evening.  This brilliant and talented young man is poised to do some great things, and I am one proud teacher.

Monday was a full day at the office, then some fun singing with the increasingly crisp-sounding Variety Children’s Chorus. I had lunch with a college sophomore who is a delightful student, and a mentor to others.

Then NYC.  I packed in the activity this trip: two visits to the Metropolitan Opera, two Broadway shows, one Off-Broadway show, one developmental reading of a new show, two circus performances, a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a visit to the Grolier Club, a visit to the Morgan Library.  Several fine meals.  Numerous subway rides, and a few bus rides.  So much walking.  Meals with dear friends, colleagues, former students who are now part of the fabric of my life.  And some time with my German friendship family student from Webster.

New shoes and luggage and some fun socks were the extent of my shopping.

The God-winks this trip were numerous.  Jessica Hentoff happened to be in town at the same time, thus the circus visits.  Malte Hansen happened to be in town, thus the German student time.  Spencer Jones and family were in town for the 29-hour-workshop of Corner of Bitter and Sweet, thus the breakfast with them and the industry reading.  Manon was in its final performances at the Met, and my cheering and braying was carried worldwide yesterday.  The weather has been perfect.  Autumn in Manhattan is a treat.

And as always, I’m ready to be home.