In Lincoln, recruiting and representing Webster University is the word of the day!
Another group of students has walked across the stage to emerge as university graduates.
On a wet, cold, miserable day, we made the most of the time and sent almost 100 fine arts graduates into the world.
While I’m pretty certain that those in charge made the wrong decision about staying at the Muny in the rain, hindsight is always clearer than foresight. And I simply do not understand why leadership doesn’t read the crowd and the situation and truncate remarks, get to the main event, and cut the spotlight short except on the graduates.
I’m stealing some photos from Jennifer Hylton-Whited’s Facebook page to add to my own:
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.
School year commences
New scholars matriculate
My year thirty-one
Saturday morning. At the office. Loads of stuff yet undone and incomplete.
But I’m happier today, because I now am the owner and glad employer of a coccyx orthopedic pillow. My tailbone is giving me less grief already.
I woke on Friday morning to the iPad NOAA warning about extreme temperatures at Rienosslsgasse 3 in Vienna.
Fortunately, I was home in Saint Louis with moderate weather, but more humidity.
At some point my iPad will figure out that I’m in the USA. I certainly know that I am! Witness:
- Iced tea!! I went for three weeks without it.
- Taco Bell. I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
- Airport staffs who are not multilingual (except in Spanish). Such a change from Europe.
- Air-conditioning everywhere.
- Cellular service everywhere without having to think of turning the phone on and off.
- A fridge and a freezer. (Small fridge only, with no freezer, in Vienna.)
- Loudness. Americans just talk so damn loudly.
- Diet Pepsi! I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
But as my friend Alice said on Facebook last evening, she has little compassion for the slight frustrations, given what I was able to see and do. And I expect no boo-hoos for the cultural differences and the weariness because of the seeing and doing.
And DO I did.
The research grant proposed outcomes are essentially complete. The draft report is 75% there, with some details and nuance to ponder and finesse. In other words, I accomplished the stated goals. The grant outcome was successful. Now we move to implementation.
Along the way, I was a tourist nearly every day — in fact, save for last Sunday, every single day of the sojourn in Europe.
What did I not do? Well, I skipped the Salzburg and Venice/Dolomites excursions because I just was not feeling well. Summer allergies are, I’m told, quite severe in Vienna this year. I did not make it to all the art museums I would have wished, and since concert season was over, I attended only two musical performances.
What DID I do?
Enough art to keep me happy for months. Less-frequented locales such as the Snow Globe Museum, the Freud Museum, the Schnapps Museum, the Imperial Crypt, and the old Jewish cemetery at Zentral Friedhof. Anglican Church services in Florence and Vienna. Florence. Choral concert by a British choir at the British Embassy Church. A cruise on the Danube. Cooking class. Visited Mahler’s grave. Walked in the steps of Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert and Haydn and so many others. Melk Abbey. Heurigerabend. Organ recital at the Jesuit Church. Churches and parks and the Naschmarkt and gelato and beer and bubbly and schnitzel and . . . well, the whole five-senses experience indeed.
And I kept up with the daily office work. My email inbox is only marginally more crowded now than it was when I left, and no decisions have been punted to next week.
Now home for a few days, and with days off this weekend with few obligations, I can rest and recharge before the onslaught of the run-up to August 20 when contracts begin.
And I can love on Auggie, who apparently did indeed miss me.
Of all the pleasures of travel, returning home is the greatest joy.