Tag Archives: Webster University Department of Music

The last day

It’s the last day of the semester, and the end of my 10th year of teaching and administering at Webster University.

I’ve now been a university professor (full-time) for 19 years.

How will I mark the day?  A bit of office cleaning in the morning.  A council of chairs luncheon. A faculty meeting, then sessions with all of our sophomore candidates to announce the results of their barrier exams.  Then the honors convocation for fine arts students.  And the commencement banquet to receive my Messing Award.

I’m a suit all day!

Here’s a photo from my first week on the job:

At the new office, which is still in progress too.

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Vienna Monday

My full day of activities in Vienna on Monday ended with dinner. Ten students and Prof. Martha Hart. And me.

Grundl Bauer is a lovely local restaurant on the west side of the First District, and they had a table for twelve waiting. We dined on traditional Austrian specialities, and I of course had veal Wiener schnitzel. And an Ottakringer beer. And a table full of Kaiserschmarrn for dessert.

My meals earlier today consisted of a delightful hotel buffet breakfast, and a snack of Esterhazy torte and black coffee.

And from the street today and this evening:

My health tracker tells me I hit more than 14K steps today. Walking in the city will do that! No public transport today or tomorrow.

Ten years ago

Ten years ago today I sent an email to Peter Sargent, Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts at Webster University, officially accepting the appointment as Chair of the Department of Music.

Ten years……

This is longer than I’ve lived in any city in my life, and longer than I’ve stayed in any single job. And what a good ten years it’s been!


From ten years ago:

My new office Webster University.

Easing back in

Eight years ago this week I was in Oslo and Copenhagen. The weather was tremendously cold!

In the Vigelund park, with snow falling on Oslo.

Random Sunday afternoon thoughts:

After a strange and unexpected few weeks of travel and family and estate and such, I am easing back into the flow of the forthcoming semester.

As I write on this Sunday afternoon, we are expecting some ice and sleet to arrive.  My two voice lessons today both asked to postpone, and I am quite adrift in silence at home, which is delightful.

On the way back from Lee’s Summit two weeks ago, having just buried my father the day before, I stopped by one of the many antique malls that dot the I-70 corridor, and purchased an old floor lamp with a lovely and gaudy half-globe painted glass shade.  This is the only light illuminating my living room, where I sit in my chair and write.

After a full Saturday that included five hours of voice lessons and a visit with a friend, this Sunday has been peaceful.  I made some banana bread this morning, and have watered some sourdough starter this afternoon.  I’ve spent time in my home office and done some tidying and tossing here at home. I’ve done some laundry.  And I recorded some tracks for one of my students, texted about various things, and have read a bit today as well.  This is truly a lazy Sunday — gray and overcast and chilly but not frigid.

The past few days have been strangely internal.  The reality of my father’s death — of now being the eldest, with no one above me in my immediate family — has finally sunk in.  After days of doing the things that needed to be done, I’m now finally grieving some.  And then on Thursday evening I saw Call Me By Your Name, and I was gutted by the father’s final speech, not to mention to the entire film.  For three days now, all of this has been rattling ’round in my conscious mind, and probably in my unconscious as well.

Meanwhile, this week ramps up at work, culminating in a Friday afternoon faculty workshop (for which I’m not ready).  Spring 2018 classes commence on January 16.

[And just like that, Auggie hops up from his perch on the sofa, starts doing his I’m-about-to-puke routine, and I grab him from the Persian rug and put him on the hardwood.  He retched in the right place.  Aug did not eat his breakfast, so I wondered if something was amiss.]

I picked up a new voice student this weekend, and will enjoy working with him tremendously, I think.  He’s smart and grabbed onto ideas immediately at his first lesson on Saturday.

The bone-jarring cold snap seems to be over, with the arrival this afternoon of some freezing rain.  My frozen pipe has now unfrozen.  The forecast calls for more moderate temperatures this week.  And perhaps I won’t be running my furnaces 2/3 of the time now.  (I fear for my natural gas bill and electric bill after these last two weeks.)

Part of my inheritance from my father’s estate is a lovely Seth Thomas wall clock, dating from the mid-19th century.  The clock is currently at About Time, a local clock shop, for an overhaul and fine-tuning. I also picked up my parents’ cuckoo clock and took it to the shop.  The cuckoo clock had been boxed for well over 30 years, and the bellows are shot.  This one will take some work to repair.  My father’s safe deposit box also included two pocket watches.  One of them was a much-used American Waltham railroad watch with a serial number that dates the watch to 1902. This would have belonged to one of my paternal great-grandfathers.  It’s also at the clock shop for repair and refurbishment.

And with some of the inheritance I’ll be receiving, I’ve made two purchases, one for me and one for the house:

  • for the house, the final installment of new Pella windows for the living room.  I had purchased new custom-made windows previously for the master bedroom, the back porch, and the kitchen.  This will finish the window updates.
  • for me, a new gold and diamond ring.  I traded in my Uncle John’s gold wedding band, a red coral and gold ring I purchased in Santa Fe, and my father’s high school class ring (although I did keep a diamond and synthetic ruby gold ring that my father was wearing) . . . and upgraded to a lovely five-diamond gold and white gold pinky ring. The only jewelry I have ever really purchased is cufflinks or a pinky ring, and I think this one will be with me until my dying day.

Speaking of inheritance, executorship of an estate is a part-time job.  Just sayin’ . . . .

A week of shows

‘Tis a week for shows.

Monday night: Wind Ensemble at school.

Wednesday night: The King and I at the Fox, with my student Spencer Donovan Jones as one of the royal children.

Thursday night: Pattonville High School holiday concert, where Aaron Garner (voice student) had a solo, and I was collaborative pianist.

Friday night: back to the Fox to see Spencer the company again.

Saturday night: A Christmas Story at CBC High School, with three of my private voice students in the show.

Sunday afternoon: Webster University’s annual holiday concert, A Gift to the City, at Christ Church Cathedral.