Webster University’s annual holiday greeting is posted today, and I’m one proud professor.
The concept for this started to take shape in August. Our friends in Global Marketing and Communications wanted to feature a Department of Music ensemble. I pitched some ideas.
And then I wrote some scratch lyrics for one the ideas, using the tune PASSION CHORALE by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612). We know this tune best in the 21st century as “Because all men are brothers” or “O sacred head, now wounded.”
The idea stuck, and we enlisted Nathan Rauscher (BM ’19), a jazz major, to write a score for Jazz Singers. Several iterations later, we had a brilliant approved product.
Then our genius vocal jazz teacher, Debby Lennon, started to work with Jazz Singers. And the visual storyboarding started. And then it was time to record in the studio. Then came video recording. And editing. And final product and approvals.
And today? A fine little greeting card, thanks to Karen Burch and her staff; to President Beth Stroble and others in the group who green-lighted the project; and to Debby and Nathan and all the students along the way who made this project sing.
Some of the scenes from this film were shot in my office at Webster University. I caught glimpses of my stuff on the walls! And even the cover of the trailer is of a wall in my office, slightly re-dressed.
The movie screens on November 10 at the St. Louis International Film Festival.
Day One of sabbatical is sunny, brisk, and lazy so far.
I had a few minutes yesterday of “what’s my purpose now? Who am I? Does anyone need me?”. Drifting off into a nap, these were the thoughts on my mind.
The whole scenario is odd: I leave work one day, not to return for nearly five months.
Had this sabbatical been a full semester, instead of a split (part Fall, part Spring), I’d have eased into it with a summer buffer or a winter holiday break. But no — finish a faculty meeting and a photo shoot, and bye-bye.
The emotions associated with this are strange.
But I’m still celebrating with a steak dinner tonight. (Last night was homemade tacos.)
I find no better way to relax after two days of faculty meetings, totaling nine hours of time with colleagues, than to listen to choral music of Herbert Howells.
Tonight, it’s the Requiem, perhaps my favorite work by HH. I have this newish recording by Conspirare and Craig Hella Johnson, and it’s delightful indeed.
Our faculty meetings were fruitful. Tiring. Enlivening. Productive. Nine hours of meetings over two will never be fun, but enough humor allowed us to break and laugh, and we spent time charting the next few years of the Webster University Department of Music.
Meanwhile, I fell on Sunday. In my yard. On my tush.
And while nothing is broken, I’m sore, and all this sitting today has left me feeling poorly tonight.