mortality and doing fun stuff


After our road trip Friday, Eileen and I attended a 60th wedding anniversary party. The wife sings in my choir and her husband is a retired prof. It was fun, but Eileen and I were exhausted from our day. There was an open free bar, but I resisted having a martini. Eileen and I both had some red wine. I enjoyed chatting with people I have known for some time. We didn’t stay very long.

The next day I was glad we hadn’t since the entire day I was exhausted.

I wrestled with my mortality all day, feeling half dead or dying.

Nevertheless I did my usual tasks and went to the Farmers market, grocery shopped, practiced organ and exercised.

I also am finishing up  my new Gloria for the Grace Jazz Mass. I sent off copies to colleagues for comments and also showed it to a parishioner hanging around church yesterday. At this point I have difficulty being very objective about it. Making a piece of music for a congregation to sing is tricky. One wants it to be attractive and as beautiful as possible. But at the same time it must be easily sung. Because of this  I found myself toning down some of the tricky rhythms at this stage. Or at least experimenting with dong so. I haven’t made my mind up entirely. Rev Jen and I have agreed to probably start using the Grace Jazz Mass next Sunday. This means I need to nail it down enough to make a bulletin version.

Once I have introduced it, I am hesitant to do much changing of the melody I teach a congregation. So I want it to be in as finished a form as possible.

However my idea of this particular Gloria is that it’s execution will evolve a bit as the assembled singers get comfortable with it. Specifically, I have written added doo wop parts for the choir.

Also the ending involves a repetitive section in which I’m hoping the congregation will choose a part. Also I would love to add instruments and percussion and make the whole experience a bit African like in its freedom. But not at first. First I want to see how it flies with the congregation. My instinct is to wait and introduce it after the choir gets going in the fall. But Rev Jen wants to move ahead. And I am also excited to see how it works and glad to get it going.

I received an email from the chair of the Ballet department on Friday. In it she offered me hours for the fall. Again she is offering to have me come in every day beginning at 8:30 AM. I am planning to call her and set up a time to speak with her face to face and see if we can’t work out not being present every day.

My summer has been one in which it seems I have leaped from one intense thing to another beginning with eye surgery. As I said above I have been thinking of my own mortality and also my ebbing energies. If I could limit my ballet accompaniment a bit, at this point I would like not only to use the time for my usual solitude of reading and practicing but I would like to return to some more composing.

I haven’t been doing my bad Paul Simon routine (writing and performing songs on guitar, banjo, whatever). I don’t feel a need to return to this activity. But I have been having compositional ideas come at me involuntarily. This is a good sign. I am feeling increasingly uneasy at not putting my ideas down on paper (or on a computer screen in Finale as it were). Another good sign. I am feeling a bit like I did around 2000: one only gets so much time to be alive, time to do some fun stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.