Monday, October 27, 2014

Hits and Misses (October 19-25)

Another busy week is in the books! Here's a look back at the week that was....

  • The week began with getting to attend church with both of my parents for the first time since Dad's triple bypass. Rather than making the commute to Collierville, Dad decided to join me at First Marion last week. It was such a sweet day of worship as a family that I especially enjoyed. After church, the siblings joined us in Crawfordsville for lunch together.
  • It's been a FULL week of music making that has mostly been successful. The highlight of the week was an outstanding senior voice recital by Lauren Harris on Friday night that featured the John Carter Cantata. I'm glad I got to perform this difficult work with Lauren, but very happy that I don't have to rehearse it any more at the moment! (Waaaayyyyy too many notes!) I've also enjoyed rehearsing with a couple of instrumental students for upcoming performances and had a quick rehearsal with the men's choir at Union this week. Lots of good music in the works that will be performed this week.
  • On Wednesday, I attended my first rehearsal with the praise band at Marion First. It has been nearly 15 months since I played in an ensemble in a worship setting. I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive stepping back into this type of situation again, but I really enjoyed myself. It's a wonderful feeling to have the opportunity to use my talents as an act of worship without having the stress and responsibility that had been associated with playing in the past. 
  • Friday afternoon saw a very "interesting" opera rehearsal at Union. There's nothing quite like seeing a grinning Dr. Warren wearing a dragon's head to cut through the tension and give us some much needed laughter. 
  • The week ended with a very nice dinner at Bosco's on Saturday night. The food was great, but the company was what really made the meal special. There was lively, invigorating conversation and plenty of laughter as old friends dreamed together again. We'll just have to wait and see what exciting things come about because of this dinner in the coming months.
  • I've been reminded this week how dissatisfied I am with my position in West Memphis. After 6 years, it is becoming clear that circumstances are never going to change and I will continue to be frustrated. I'm actively looking for opportunities that would allow me to let this position go once and for all.
  • While playing Lauren's recital on Saturday night, I was reminded of why I prefer a long piano bench to an artist's bench in collaborative performance. The second movement of Carter's Cantata required lots of movement from one region of the keyboard to another. In rehearsal, I was able to reposition my body easily in order to have the easiest access to the notes needed. In the recital, I was sitting on a tiny artist's bench that didn't allow for much shifting of positions. I was so afraid that I was going to fall off into the floor in the middle of the piece.
  • Saturday was an incredibly busy day. I left Jackson and drove straight to First Marion for a Christmas musical rehearsal. As soon as we broke for lunch, I exited and headed over to the dress rehearsal for the high school cabaret. The high school students and I ran that program twice before heading to Bosco's with a quick stop at the library. Even though it was a productive day and everything went well, I was worn out by the time I finally hit the bed that night.
  • When you're surrounded by good conductors all week in both academia and church work, it becomes extremely challenging when you find you have to work with a weaker conductor. What I find is that the better conductors do less talking and more rehearsing. If words are needed to explain a concept to an ensemble, it's often because the message wasn't communicated clearly through the baton.
  • Just as frustrating is watching a hard-working student perform less than their best as a result of poor coaching. In these situations, I find myself wondering if the student isn't aware of the poor instruction they are receiving or if they simply don't care. It's a tough balancing act.....and I'm still trying to decide whether I should speak up or remain silent. 
There you have it! Hope you have a great week ahead.

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