- I love sharing music with people. It's especially fun when I just get to let my hair down and relax. No serious repertoire. Just sharing arrangements of songs that hold a special place in the hearts of the audience. That was my experience when I got to play a few hymn arrangements for the Young at Heart group at College Heights. After enjoying lunch with these senior adults -- and laughing with them, as well -- I sat at the piano and together we thought about Heaven as we shared the gift of music. It wasn't the best playing I've ever done in my life -- I even pulled out an arrangement that is still a "work in progress" -- and it was fine. Sometimes in all of the hecticness of making music professionally, I forget just how important these casual moments with my faith community can really be.
- Back in the School of Music, it has been a busy week for me (surprise, surprise!). It has also been a week filled with productive rehearsals. Richard and I continue to sightread piano duo repertoire on Wednesday mornings. I think we've found a couple of pieces that we both really enjoy that will be featured in an upcoming recital. Yes, we are actually going to perform it this time....I promise it will be worth the wait! As the week continued, opera rehearsals went much better than last week! It's amazing how a humbling experience (see last week's post) will kick your tail in gear to make sure it doesn't happen again. This week's rehearsals showed that my work -- and the work of our students -- paid off while continuing to point out areas that still need some attention in the practice rooms. Lastly, I am preparing a senior recital with soprano Elizabeth Johnson this semester. The repertoire is not easy at all and we have both dreaded putting a few of the pieces together. Last week, we had committed to just plowing through the fear-inducing repertoire in our next rehearsal...and we made it through the songs without too much trauma. They are still stiff in some passages at the moment, but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now we just continue to press on!
- I hate housework. Since I'm actually home so little during the week, I struggle with putting in all the effort to keep the place spotless. Don't get me wrong, I pick up after myself and make sure things are not growing.....I'm not THAT big of a slob. It's that deep cleaning that I know makes such a difference that I hate. So I swallowed my pride and sought professional assistance this week. I learned that a graduate student at WBU was looking for work as a house cleaner to help with her tuition; of course, I felt it was my obligation to offer her work! LOL! The work was beautifully done and for what I considered a reasonable rate. More importantly, my apartment is clean, fresh, and organized. In my opinion, that was $40 well spent!
- As the week came to a close, we received an important update on Hannah Brown and her fight against cancer. While it wasn't exactly what we had hoped for, I was encouraged that the MRI came back with results that can be seen as a step in the right direction at the moment. Here's what the doctors saw. There is currently no indication that cancer has returned to Hannah's brain at this point. Praise the Lord! However, there are some other issues that are raising concern. Currently, there is inflammation in her brain that can either be an early indicator of cancer's return OR it may be a side effect of the radiation she has been through in recent months. Additionally, there is a small spot on her lung that needs to be monitored. It may either be a cancerous cell that has spread to other parts of her body OR it is an infection -- probably pneumonia -- that can be treated with antibiotics. I choose to focus on the "OR" possibilities at the moment and continue to trust that Jehovah Rapha -- The LORD, my Healer -- is doing a complete work in Hannah's young body that will bring her complete health while bringing absolute honor and glory to the Heavenly Father. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to follow Hannah's progress on her Facebook page -- Hannah Strong and Courageous -- and join the thousands around the world who are praying for her and her family. #RoarHannah!!!!
- I started the week with a nasty cold that I just could not shake. On Sunday morning, I got out of bed and felt as though I had been hit by a semi-truck. I texted my Minister of Music to see if he could get a sub for me on such short notice. When I didn't get a response, I got dressed and headed to rehearsal so I could make sure that the service was covered. When I got there, I learned that several members of the team were also out sick or out of town. Since I was there, I put on my big boy pants and got to work. When I don't feel well, tempos and rhythmic figures are the first things to suffer in my playing. So I felt as though I was dragging everything through the service, but was thankful that I didn't completely embarrass myself. Needless to say, it was a welcome relief when I finally started feeling like a human again around Tuesday morning.
- This semester's weekly schedule has a few really long days in the middle of the week. I can't complain too much -- I did it to myself -- and I think the work is important. Tuesday and Thursdays are the longest days. Both days begin with 8am classes (Oh Karma, you continue to repay me for all of those early morning classes I intentionally avoided over the years!) and end with late commitments. On Tuesdays, I play for the Plainview Chorale until 9pm; Thursdays end with weekly donut runs with music students that easily last until 10pm. Wednesday mornings are the worst.....after a long day of teaching and playing on Tuesday, my 8:30am Duo rehearsal typically starts with me still trying to shake the grogginess from my brain. Thankfully, I have a few breaks on these marathon days that I try to protect from interruption so I can recharge and not feel as though I am completely pulling my hair out.
- Between the end of my cold this week and the weather patterns in the area, I've been fighting several headaches this week. Most were the run-of-the-mill variety that were handled with a little caffeine and Tylenol. On Friday night, I had the mother of all headaches that landed me in a dark, quiet room while I waited for it to pass. Those few hours of discomfort felt like an eternity. I'm really glad that I don't suffer with those severe headaches as frequently as I did in the past!