Tag Archives: Webster University Department of Music


With Webster University Department of Music things that must be attended to today, I left Tan-Tar-A yesterday after finishing my final meeting as President of the Missouri Association of Departments and Schools of Music.

The trip home was harrowing.

Somewhere north of Eldon, teensy snow crystals were falling so thickly that the road was nearly obliterated from view.  I kept on, trusting red tail lights ahead of me.  By Jefferson City, that fog-like snowfall had lessened a bit, and I realized I had passed through the leading edge of the storm.  I was now driving further into harrow-dom.

And so it was that the trip home took five hours.  I-70 was fine, truly.   The road was wet, the temperatures above freezing.  But the snow insistently pelted the windshield, and every ten miles or so one would see a car that had spun out and was now stranded in a ravine or on the hillside by the carriage-way.

I took it slow, and listened to the STL Public Radio app on Bluetooth, not being able to stomach the incessant regurgitation of wrongs committed by Trump, as recounted live in the impeachment trial on live radio.  And I listened to some of the earliest recordings of Broadway music — this on a CD that I had packed for listen-while-driving purposes.

Around 6.45, famished, I pulled off to have some chicken fried steak at Cracker Barrel on MO-94 out west in St. Charles County.  The freeway may have been fine, but the feeder roads weren’t!

I’m reminded of

  • how much I hate driving on snow
  • how frustrating the trip to/from the state music conference can be when January weather arrives, as it does every third or fourth year
  • how hard I struggle to stay awake when driving in mid-afternoon
  • how much a different (rental) car can throw off my usual driving patterns and routines.  And comfort on the road.

So I am clearly home now, and doing work that needs to be done, and ready to collect Mariele the Volvo from the dealer after a bit of post-lease service and upkeep on her.

MMEA always brings me back to my roots as a musician.  I see people who I’ve known for decades.  But this year I saw rather fewer of the people of my own generation, many of whom have no retired from school-teaching.  (We college professors tend to hang on a bit longer.) The torch has been passed, as it was to me as well.

I wrote several years ago a blog entry about the influences in my life.  I was reminded of some of these people as I was talking to an old friend on Thursday.

The blog entry is worth reading, I think.

Photos from MMEAs prior:

The drive

I am now safely at the Lake of the Ozarks for the annual Missouri Music Educators Association conference.  My colleagues and I are staying in a grand lake house on the corner of a little cove, with water on two sides of the house.

Leaving Webster University at 11.30, I chose to come in the south way, down I-44 and then across state roads to Osage Beach.

The weather chose to start raining and freezing a bit just as I left the freeway.

Now mind you — I’m in a rental SUV. A big Ford monstrosity that handles nothing like my Mariele the Volvo.  I can’t see anything over the huge nose of the car.  And I’m driving on twisty, turny, topsy back roads in ever-so-slightly freezing drizzle.

A happy trip this was not.  Note to self: take the four-lane roads to and from the lake.  Full stop.

As I neared civilization again (by which I mean towns bigger than 1000 residents), I noticed the church names have all become one word:

  • Freedom Church
  • Jubilee Center
  • Riverview Church
  • Victory Church
  • Faithbridge Church.

And on the way down, I saw but one and only one Trump/Pence sign.

The view as I enter the house:

It’s away

400+ pages.  The every-ten-year accreditation self-study for the National Association of Schools of Music.  It went in the post on Thursday.

My long travail is over for a few days.  Now on to other things, such as

  • Circus Harmony and three shows this weekend
  • Webster University Opera Studio opening night on Friday
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and a day off from teaching courses, but not from teaching voice lessons
  • the Community Music School orchestra concert Sunday evening
  • and a movie Monday evening!
  • Missouri Music Educators Association annual conference later next week, where I hand over my gavel after a term as President of the Missouri Association of Departments and Schools of Music
  • another weekend of circus shows next week.

January has been a rollicking romp already!

First day of school

Today I begin my 32nd year of university teaching.

Here’s what I looked like 31 years ago:

I was music director for Brigadoon at Blue Springs City Theatre. Someone took this photo of me, sitting on the edge of the stage. I had a cold — that I remember well!

And today:

Older.  Wiser.  With more training. And significantly less hair and more gray.  And more weight.

What do the eyes say?

Saturday evening at home

Saturday evening at home. Snow is falling outdoors, and the roads are rough. I’m staying in, which is what I had intended to do anyhow.

The MainStage programming is all complete, the pieces are written, and tomorrow I meet the band and rehearse for the first (and only) time. This time next week, two Circus Harmony Fluente shows will be down, with four to go.

I’m spending the evening indoors, working on the NASM self-study that must be in the post on Wednesday. This project is giving me that feeling I have when I’m on my last day abroad — I want to enjoy one more day, but I can feel the call of home, and my mind is already there. My mind is already on other things, especially since school begins Monday.

And tomorrow is a circus day.

Realizing this morning what the weather would be today, I decided to make some shepherd’s pie. I had one brick of frozen ground lamb left in the freezer, so I thawed it today. Minced lamb with carrots and thyme and gravy was the base; mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with butter and Parmesan the top layer. Cheddar cheese finished it off.

And done

Image may contain: tree, sky, house, plant and outdoor

And with Friday’s luncheon, meetings, and Candidacy wrap-ups with students, we are finished for the semester.

Thompson House looked especially lovely in the snow this week!

Now the hard work of finishing the NASM self-study ramps up, but not before focusing on Circus Harmony for a few days, and having some holiday time with the family.

The Dean threw a luncheon party today.  Photos are courtesy of Jennifer Hylton-Whited