Someone from the Mesa City Band posted this on our Facebook page. This was back in 2006, and you can see Chuck and I laughing about something. Probably Chuck told me a bad joke. We always had a good time. We miss you, old friend!
I know this is a busy time for everyone, but I hope you can find time to come and listen to what my students and colleagues have been working on.
... since I've made a post on this journal. I'm sure other parents of small children can understand; things that aren't as important as the kids get shoved to the back burner. I never was much of a blogger anyway. Even so, I feel like it's time to write something.
Here it is, November 1st, and the new musical season is upon me. The Mesa City Band has had two concerts already, with another in a week. Swing Memories Big Band has four gigs in the next two weeks. Silveridge Pops Orchestra begins rehearsals on Monday, with our first engagement at the top of December. And, of course, it's been a busy and eventful Summer/Fall at church. More on that in a moment.
At the Mesa Band's first concert at Leisure World, Anali has always brought Elmer. It's an outdoor concert and it's a good place for kids. This year, of course, she brought Arthur (and Daphne and Marylou, by the way). I'm so glad that she does. It's fun to have the kids there. It's fun to have them watch me direct and play. It's very satisfying as a father to have Elmer pretend to conduct. Or to have him carry his trumpet around and cry out, "Cornet!"
At church it's been a bit of a whirlwind. For one, we've finally found a new Vicar, Fr. Gerardo! That's very good news, because we can finally move forward with more permanent leadership.
But more along my lines is my new Mass that I've written for the church, which we are using on a weekly basis. Back in August (or was it July) Fr. Way commissioned me to write a Mass for our regular Sunday use. I've completed it and I really like it. The parish likes it too and I pray that it gives them a sense of pride in St. Mark's and makes our service unique. Of course, I've written many songs in the past years that we use at church. But this is something special and it is FOR St. Mark's; not just a song I wrote for my own use. Anyway, I am grateful Fr. Way gave me that opportunity.
There some other St. Mark's news that I can't quite reveal yet, except to say that in the near future we may be host to two musical groups in Mesa. I would love to see St. Mark's become a musical destination in Mesa. Maybe God has this planned for us. We'll see!
Meanwhile, tomorrow is our All Saint's Day Celebration. I've got a bunch of special music for the service, and there'll be a potluck afterwards. Good, old-fashioned fun and fellowship.
It's Springtime! Is't that a good reason to have a recital?
Yes, it has been Spring for a while. But we're just now getting our act together. As if we needed a reason!
Of course, my life has become even more busy and wonderfully complicated since the birth of Arthur. Even so, things are beginning to stabilize into a routine. Even so, making regular posts to this journal has gone the way of the dodo. Maybe it will come back. Maybe not. As if I needed a reason.
There's a new group playing this time. We're working on a name for our little jazz quartet. Steve likes "Bluecat Combo". I'm not certain if that will stick. We'll see. Otherwise it's Steve Swenson on drums, Gary Myers on bass, Don Jones on trumpet, and I'm on piano. It's a fun little combo.
Otherwise, it's the usual suspects, Jenna Barber, Julia Ghering, Mesa Winds. One third of the Tempe Guitar Trio is on a very exciting trip to Europe, so we won't be performing anything this time.
Come to our recital: Saturday, May 17th 2014 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Begins at 4pm.
There's been so many changes in our lives over the past few years, but it's still a great blessing to have a new baby in the house. Arthur Henry was born January 8th 2014 and all is well with everyone. Elmer is being a great big brother. Anali has recovered from the birth and is doing great. And, little Arthur is sleeping and eating well. I really can't imagine it going any better than it is. We are truly blessed.
Even so, changes had to be made with my schedule. I was anticipating this, but it is still hard to do. So, after we do two more performances in February I am sad to say that I am resigning as director of the Sunland Singers. Something had to go, and after much deliberation I decided I couldn't keep directing that choir. I really enjoyed working with all of them for the past three years.
Anyway, I'm glad that I will be able to keep all my other gigs. I am grateful to everyone I work with for being flexible and willing to let me adjust my schedule as needed.
Now I just have to decide what instrument to start Arthur on. Elmer is quite the drummer, so maybe I'll get Arthur started on bass guitar...
It's been a busy month, but it's all been great. What a delight, all this music. And Christmas music too! Tonight and Saturday the Sunland Singers put on their Christmas Concert. I've posted a copy of the flyer below.
My thanks to everyone that has attended or performed or helped out with all these concerts this month!
On the afternoon of the 14th the musicians will come,
And audience members will see what's been done,
As students and players and performers of all kinds
Will gather at the church with a meeting of minds.
And music! The music we share is straight from our spirit;
Our souls will be speaking, if you'll just wait and hear it.
We know that our Maker has gifts to us given,
And we want to share them, and show what we've striven.
But mostly we gather to share holiday joys,
Along with the fellowship that music employs.
Come listen, come smile, come laugh, come nod;
We'll make the music and we hope you'll applaud!
The 2013-14 seasons have all officially begun. This past Saturday night, Swing Memories swung into action at the VFW for our season opener. Some great music, some great dancing and I even sang a few numbers (which looks like will be a regular feature of our performances).
Sunday morning we had a special service at St. Mark's. We performed several special pieces, some were even in Spanish (for our Spanish congregation). I love the opportunities that I have to make many kinds of music at church. It's a great community and they are all very appreciative of the music.
Today the Silveridge Pops begins its season with the first rehearsal this afternoon. I'm looking forward to getting back in front of that group of excellent musicians. And, yes, I hope to keep working on the John Williams music with them!
And, of course, the Mesa City Band and the Sunland Singers have been rehearsing for several weeks now. The MCB has had two concerts already in the past weeks. Both were very successful events.
This coming weekend there's more gigs with the Swing Band, including a four-hour affair at the country's best Elk's Lodge in Phoenix and a Veteran's Day gig at The Citadel.
Last week my wife shared a web-comic that has since been making the email/web circuit. It's beautifully drawn, but it is particularly significant to me because it incorporates some of Bill Watterson's (Calvin and Hobbes) words given at a graduation in 1990. Just like his strips about a young boy and his stuffed tiger, it is full of meaning and wisdom.
When I left my teaching job, I encountered a lot of misunderstanding from a lot of people. I originally thought people would be happy for me because I had chosen to make the change to focus on what I loved doing. But instead I found that most people didn't know what to make of a person who wanted to be a freelance musician and teacher.
An artist I know once told me--when I was a much-younger and aspiring musician--that I would have to make sure to give myself time to create. I think people who don't create art often underestimate the amount of time it takes. Learning to perform music takes hours (upon hours!) of practice. Writing songs and composing, recording and arranging music takes just as much time. It's very hard to "squeeze" in creative activity around a busy schedule.
Then when we had a child, and I took on the task of adjusting my schedule to raise Elmer, I again encountered a great deal of misunderstanding. Honestly--looking back--our choice made a lot of sense. Anali has a regular job at an office from 9-5, whereas I worked from home and could adjust my own work schedule accordingly. Even so, I was told (and sometimes still am told) that it is "woman's work" and that I shouldn't be doing it. (This isn't to say that Anali hasn't had to give anything up! We both have given a lot to our little guy.)
You'd think in our modern society that has so changed--and is still changing--that more people would understand a non-traditional life. Bill Watterson did not let his commercial success or the allure of wealth guide his career. In fact, because of the difficulty of avoiding the influence of his commercial success he left the public sphere and never returned. Instead he focused on his family and living a life the way he wanted.
I think that's what makes him a success.
"To invent your own life's meaning is not easy but it's still allowed and I think you'll be happier for the trouble."
- Bill Watterson
Thanks to Gavin Aung Than (zenpencils.com) for his great artwork!
Musician & educator