drained but functioning

I am a bit numb today due to all that went on this weekend.

The more I consider my “jazz” playing on Saturday evening, the happier I am with it. When I improvise, I do try to make it like a coherent composition. In my own little way.

My organ prelude came off very well yesterday. I had a bit more time than usual due to the choir having the Sunday off.  As I waited to perform the tricky little piece I had scheduled by Emma Lou Diemer, I played it silently on the organ with all the stops turned off. This seemed to help.

After church, I came home and Eileen and I finished up the left-over Kashmiri (chicken for her, veggie for me) from our Friday meal. Yum.

The afternoon recital also went very well. My biggest task (accomplishment?) was soothing some of my singers who seemed a bit distraught (terrified?). Performing can excite odd emotions in people. Emotions that can block their ability to perform. Yesterday I attempted to walk the line between challenging people to do their best and calming them into a perspective that enable this. I had some partial success. This is an ongoing dilemma working with volunteer singers and limited rehearsal time. But I was quite happy with the result.

The next biggest challenge was developing and delivering a spontaneous rap to go along with our little concert.

I was looking to establish an atmosphere of a relaxed, good humored experience of some good music performed competently and interestingly.

I was thinking about Alex Ross’s comments on Poisson Rouge: relaxed atmosphere with live musicians talking about their work.

Judging from the smiles and enthusiastic response of the listeners yesterday I think I probably did this fine.

The small little room where we performed was pretty packed. We had to set up extra chairs and ran out of programs even after people offered to share programs.

The crowd was interesting. Although there were a few parishioners, it seemed to be largely non-parishioners. At least one of my choir members was a bit chagrined by the lack of response from the church community. I  responded blandly when he made this comment. But now I feel like this might be a pretty good thing for this kind of concert. Raising the visibility of our church community and expanding our presence in the larger community. Not a bad thing. And there was a stack of money in the basket designated for donations to our food bank program run in conjunction with Feed America. cool beans.

Now of course I feel pretty drained.


I won’t be able to avoid some church tasks today. I have to choose preludes and postludes for the upcoming services this week: Ash Wed and Lent I. Right now I can’t envision what more a full time version of this job would entail. Besides a bit more pay. Which I could of course use.

I am hoping to get paid more than a pittance for my work Saturday night. It is possible because the people in charge are musicians and can probably tell what they are getting from me is worth remunerating.

In the midst of all this I have been in conversation with some people on my Google Buzz thingo about the 17 year old German author who made a prize winning novel about re-mixing recently. In her novel she not only uses this theme but demonstrated it but recycling other people’s writings in hers. This caused some consternation.

I have been trying to refine the conversation and response to include more nuance. Probably unsuccessfully.

Here’s a link to the NYT service article about this:

“Plagarizing author, 17, is finalist for prize”by Nicholas Kulish [link]

& the reading I suggested to my Buzz conversation partners:

The Economy of Ideas by John Barlowe [link]

a bit more info on the deal

Plagiarism or ‘remix’? 17-year-old German author’s borrowing creates controversy

By Chris Meadows

A link to Creative Commons which is a new and better way to license material for coherent re-use


Finally another interesting article about how we all steal from each other:
The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem

I like this quote from the beginning of the Barlowe essay:

“If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.” – Thomas Jefferson

Also there is some very fun stuff in the Harper’s article linked above in which Lethem pulls a Heggemann by writing about borrowing and doing it at the same time. Good reading.

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