Tag Archives: Webster University Department of Music

Social distance, day 54

On this 54th day of physical distance from others, and now having completed my last interview with students moving on to the third year of school, here’s a little poem about the “last day of school.”

And a screen shot of the setting of the last official 90 minutes of Spring 2020 on the last day of the semester.

Now for a steak dinner!

A thing

So I did a thing.

I recorded video greetings yesterday for various commencement- and honors-related projects.  The self-tapes took place in my office at home.

Nothing like getting into regalia whilst in lounge pants in University of Kansas crimson and blue, with a Jayhawk embroidered on the leg.

And no shoes or socks.

Nobody was going to see anything below the chest anyhow, right?

Screen captures:

A circle

From a Webster University student this week:

This morning I was looking through my bookshelf, and I opened one of my books that my dad gave me. He buys and sells books, and every once in awhile, he finds a book that he thinks will be useful to me for any reason and gives it to me. Usually, these are field guides or music teaching related.
I opened this book today and found this, and wondered if maybe you had owned this book at some point before me?
And indeed, the student had a copy of a book I took to Goodwill well over a year ago as I was purging my shelves at home and at the office!
Sometimes the universe sends signals.  I haven’t decoded this one yet, but I’m certain the signal is a good one.

Upside down

The world is turned inside out, upside down.

Broadway, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera. Closed for thirty days.

Webster University. Teaching on-line with no course meetings for at least three weeks.

Faculty. Forced to move courses on line, even though they never signed up for this.

Saint Louis. Banning all gatherings of 1,000 people or more for a few weeks.

The Fox. Closing for the month. SLSO calls off the Berlioz sound-orgy this weekend.

The NCAA. All remaining winter and spring sport tourneys are canceled this year.

MLB. Postponing the start of the season for two weeks.

NHL. MLB. MLS. All dark.

Variety Children’s Chorus. Stopped for the remainder of the program year.

Italy. Shut down.

European citizens entering the USA. Forbidden in the next few weeks.

Travel from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran. Forbidden.

Ireland. Closing all schools and universities for two weeks.

As of March 12, nearly 30 countries worldwide have closed all schools.

Apart from the grim human toll, the disruption to lives, the anxiety and fear this virus is inducing . . . apart from the fact that people I know and love are out of work because of this virus . . . the UN is now suggesting that the worldwide cost of this virus this year could be $2 trillion, and that a global recession is inevitable at this point.

The world is turned inside out, upside down.

Said John Donne —

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man’s death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

NASM visitors

Our decennial accreditation renewal process is in white-hot heat today and tomorrow as two visitors representing the National Association of Schools of Music are at Webster University.

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!

 

Next act

So, with the announcement that I’m stepping down as Chair of the Webster University Department of Music on May 31, 2020, I am thinking about the next act in my life.

(Well, I’ve been thinking about this for several years, and more fully for the last few months.)

God willing, I’ll have another ten years on the faculty at Webster, since I do not expect to retire until I’m 70.  Sixteen months hence, my teaching load will of course shift a bit (although I’m already teaching a full-time load each semester), but the hours of administration each day will no longer occupy so much of my week.  I’ll not be doing email at 11 p.m. to catch up from the day, which means time to read and write and watch and listen.

Questions on my mind right now:

How will this act in my life differ from the previous?

Be summative?

Be valedictory?

Engage the community?

Meet people where they are?

Secure a solid financial retirement?

Secure a legacy, if I am to be granted one?

Give to others?

Grow in connection with others?


I have some clear thoughts about all of this, but I’d love to hear from my readers.  Your comments are welcome!

 

The week . . . and a big change

Friday —

Well, it’s been a week.

(Read that with a sigh and a whimper.)

My body called off after Circus Harmony closed.  I crashed hard on Monday, with mold allergy issues really getting the best of me.  Perseverance was the motto, but Monday night was a rugged and toss/turn sleep.

I stayed home and slept a good chunk of Tuesday, finally going to the office to teach a few lessons before returning home to go to bed early.

This was supposed to be the first normal week of the semester, and it has been in that I’ve seen all my Webster University voice students, most of my private students, taken all the meetings, powered through the to-do lists, and such.  But the allergies (wet weather, not dipping below freezing = mold) have held sway.

And the impeachment tribunal is just making me grumpy.  I know who in my estimation the traitors are.  And I just don’t understand a good 40% of this country.

Muny auditions are coming up, and for the Webster kids have already taken place.  That’s been the focus of lessons this week.

I booked this week a music-directing gig for next year.

Friday and Saturday are audition days at Webster.  We’ll see a dozen prospective new students before this weekend is over.  Audition days are always exciting, bringing promise of new faces and voices and a superior freshman class.

I wrote two songs this week!

Projects and events this past week:

  • continuing preparation for the NASM visit
  • academic program review
  • prepping and giving a NASM briefing to Webster students
  • the annual Arts & Education gala at the Chase
  • finishing a capital funding request
  • booking tickets for shows whilst in NYC in March (Company, Diana, Moulin Rouge)

The beard is now gone.  My face appreciates being clean-shaven. Mariele the Volvo is a delight!  And I paid bills this week, with a few shekels left over. Apparently some big football game is taking place Sunday evening?

And Great Britain Brexits today.  Good lord.


This announcement was posted Friday to faculty and staff in the Department of Music:

So, big changes are in the offing…..