Tag Archives: Webster University Department of Music

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.

Purgatory, and other ramblings

I do believe with my whole heart that there exists a ‘driving purgatory.’  And that purgatory has a special place reserved for people who drive 55 miles per hour, hanging out in the center left lane on a four-lane freeway.

And for those who don’t signal when turning, a special puragatory.

And for those who frigging don’t know how to use the yield sign at I-64 and Kingshighway, eternal purgation!


The Circus Harmony music is all fitting together nicely. The director and producer stopped by my home on Monday evening (after I arrived home from Variety Chorus), and I played tunes for them from the cache of things I’ve been scribbling.  I think we are all on the same chart now, and that makes me very happy.  This is going to be a fun show to compose.


I ordered holiday gifts on Monday for my colleagues at work: their own individual copy of Mapping Your Academic Career.  This book by Gary Burge was instrumental in awakening me to the career shifts and focuses that I see playing out in myself and others.  I think it high time that my colleagues each have a copy.


The new computer at work is finally up and running.


Speaking of Variety, the holiday show is Thursday, December 12 at 7.30 p.m. at The Sheldon.

https://varietystl.org/blog/variety-chorus-holiday-concert-save-the-date

We ran all the music on Monday evening this week, and find that we have a ways to go with memorization.  But these kids are brilliant, and we shall get there!


And this public service reminder:

https://babylonbee.com/news/evidence-suggests-saul-threw-spear-at-david-after-he-played-christmas-music-before-thanksgiving

 

A full Sunday

Sunday, November 10.

A full day!

Phlip was all chalked up at Circus Harmony today, and he did a somersault and then two back flips that left perfect on the carpet in the ring.

I headed to school for a fabulous faculty composers showcase concert featuring music by four intensely talented colleagues.

And then I went to the J to be part of Todd Purdum’s talk about his book Enchanted Evenings. The book is about Rodgers and Hammerstein’s collaboration. Purdum was at The J as part of the Jewish Book Festival that continues this week.

I’m grateful to Edward Coffield for asking me to provide the piano music for Purdum’s talk!

Teaching begins

Tuesday.  NOT my longest day.

But my longest day so far.

I plowed through paperwork and emails and agendas and notes.

Department chair meeting took up a chunk of the morning.

And I taught a wonderful sophomore his first voice lesson of the year.

Lunch at my desk.  Dinner at my desk too.

A scholarship grant arrived today, so I had the happy task of walking that over to Development.

We hosted a study abroad in Vienna meeting.

I planned the host of faculty evaluations that must take place in the next six weeks.

And taught three voice lessons for the private studio, starting off the new contract year with fun kids.

And at nearly 10 p.m., I’ve just finished grading video submissions for the music theory class I see at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Welcome to the semester from *%@~+)@#.

Random musings

. . . that moment when you realize it’s your parents’ 60th wedding anniversary, and they only made it 38 years before Mom died, and you just start crying because you forgot the anniversary, and suddenly you miss her more than your father, and years of grief wash over you again . . . .

That was my Friday about 12.45 p.m.


I find it odd.  The optometrist can mail me my prescription, or fax it to me, both of which can be intercepted by others, but because of FERPA laws cannot email a PDF copy, even though that is likely the most secure way to send my scrip to me.


Thank you to students who helped move furniture on Friday as we got some new/used items for Thompson House!


All the best-laid plans of chefs and cooks go out the window during the first week of school.  Other people have been doing my cooking.


And speaking of the first week of school, we exceeded our expected music-major headcount.  Significantly exceeded. My expectations for slippage were inaccurate.  Rejoicing abounds!

Second-highest total number of music majors in two generations of students . . . .


The number of cars driving around Saint Louis with expired temporary tags — some expired for months — astounds me.


I may or may not be making a surprise visit somewhere south of Saint Louis today.


Tornado sirens and green-gray skies on a Friday afternoon make for an eerie end of the week.


love my new office configuration.  And my new desk chair.


And I love teaching voice lessons.  One new Webster student started Friday. The light bulbs popping on above his head were copious and a balm for a weary administrator’s eyes.  I still have my teaching chops.


Beware.  More new eyeglasses are on their way.