back to ballet and on to jazz

My break is over and it’s back to the playing for Ballet classes this evening. I’m not as exhausted as I was but I’m still not fully rested. Pretty normal for a Monday. Interested to see how I do with increased hours and unfamiliar teachers in the May term.

In addition to church and ballet I have added playing with the Barefoot Jazz Quartet this summer.  We played last week and have another gig this week on Friday from 5-7 PM. It’s flattering to me that this group of musicians has reached out to include me in their group.  This is in contrast to my usual treatment by local people who would be logical colleagues for me (organists, composers, musicians).  I told Eileen this week that if I had to choose between being having local church or college musicians keep me on their radar as a respected colleague or playing with people like the Barefoot Jazz Quartet I would instantly choose the latter.

I find it a bit curious that local musicians keep me at arm’s length even when I make the rare attempt to connect with them. I’m not much of a schmoozer and over the years the local artistic community seems to perceive me as “odd.” But what do I expect? Much of this is my own doing. It’s probably even a bit of my heritage on my father’s side. Both he and my grandfather were intellectuals in an anti-intellectual denomination (Church of God, Anderson Indiana). The point is that I’m more comfortable with those who are eccentric (like my church people) and passionate (like the people in Barefoot Jazz Quartet).

After riding home from the Hatch Mother’s day cookout and chatting briefly with my son in California on my cell on the way, I plopped down on my new lawn chair, sipped wine and read a chapter each in James Joyce’s Ulysses and Mark Twain’s recently released autobiography.


I have read Ulysses but still enjoy returning to Joyce because each time I catch things I missed before. I think one of the points he makes in this book is that each person’s life is a sort of deep and resonant story that has it’s own secrets and beauty. Ulysses you recall is the story of one day in Dublin. It basically follows Stephen Daedalus and Leopold Bloom throughout the day. Daedalus is a sort of Icarus/son figure who is also the the main character of Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Bloom is the Ulysses/father figure of the book.  Joyce begins the book in his sort of stream of consciousness technique and then moves through myriad uses of language, parodying writers mercilessly and applying an encyclopedic array of use of words. I find that I can dip in anywhere (like I did yesterday) and enjoy it.

I’m hoping to get more done on my string quartet arrangement of “Yellow” by Coldplay today. Also need to practice ballet music since one of the instructors has requested a scene from Glazounov’s ballet, “Raymonda.” I have been learning it, but need to polish it more. Tomorrow I and the violin player meet with a wedding party. I need to do some prep for that as well (find some music and practice a couple of Debussy piano pieces the bride has requested).


Today’s links are a bit on the liberal side of partisanship. I apologize to the conservatives who visit.

Obama Administration Plans Corporate Tax Cut in Year of Record Profits | The Nation

Pakistan’s K Street Connections | The Nation

After Osama bin Laden’s Death, an End to ‘Bad Guys’ | The Nation

Do They Dream? Spelunking With Werner Herzog | The Nation

My Friend Len Weinglass | The Nation

Guernica / Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

I find this last article a bit troubling. My daughter, Sarah, linked it in on Facebook. My wife read it. Chomsky can be excellent. I have found him more shrill as both he and I age. In this case he seems to misrepresent the Osama bin Laden caper a bit. His phrase, “virtually no resistance,” seems suspect to me since people were killed in the initial gunfight. He second guesses the situation strictly from a narrow point of view and then says that President Obama lied about “quickly” learning that al Qaeda was behind 9/11 . I don’t find his comments any more helpful than that of, say, Rush Limbaugh or Dick Cheney.



Yesterday on the Writers Almanac site, I found it curious that they posted a poem about fathers. Had to be on purpose.

by Wesley McNair

In my fifty-fifth year,
kneeling in my garden
to pull a weed,
I discover my father,
whom I hardly knew,
lying down in his garden.
His heart so damaged now
no doctor would remove
the cataracts that spoil his sight,
he has no other way to see
what he is doing. With him again
in his sad dimness,
I don’t want to lecture him
about the smell of booze
or talk about the seed
he left long ago untended.

link to entire poem

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