music sanctuary & links

I have been writing a practice fugue just to sharpen my fugue chops. I put it down for about a week.  Returned to it yesterday for a bit.

My file organization of my Finale (music notation) files paid off this week. Preparing for Tuesday evening’s rehearsal, I thought it would nice to have my instrumental ensemble play a different version of our Communion Hymn Sunday to serve as the prelude. I went poking through the files looking to see if I had transcribed the melody. Not only had I done so, it was already in the version I needed. Cool beans.

I also discovered the switch in the Finale software that will add capo chords to  all of the guitar chords in document at once. This was the first time I didn’t have to go through all of the chords and add the capo chord. Sweet. I wonder how long this has been a possibility in this software which the church recently paid to update.

I accompanied 16 songs last night in a mini-recital. I like working with young musicians. I arrived a little after 6 looking for a singer whom the vocal teacher said would meet with me for a last minute rehearsal. Neither the singer or the teacher was anywhere to be seen. I later learned they were sitting in the audience of the first recital of the evening.

According to the email from the choral director who contracted with me for this gig, the recital would start at 7 PM. It actually started at 6:30 so there was not much time for working with any singers beforehand. But I did manage to go through a few with some of them.

It was interesting to see how young performers respond to the pressures of the solo concert situation. Almost all of them had potential for good performances. Some of the most frightened did the best. Some of the performances were strongly affected (singing sharp for most of the song, skipping around in the song). Some were very ill-prepared to the point where I had to play the melody for them. Some were confident and performed well.

I have to wonder how I am going to get paid. Two more students gave me checks last night which brings the total to three so far. I suspect the students and their parents think that the $25 they pay me is my fee. But the choral director contracted for an additional $25 per student to be provided by the Choral Boosters. I find it discouraging to think that these young people (and their parents) think what I am doing is worth $25. All of these people treat me with more respect than I usual seem engender in Holland people. But I wish this translated into raising the standards of remuneration for artistic endeavors. But toujour gai, archie, toujours gai!

This brings me to today’s poem on the Writer’s Almanac website:

Art Sanctuary by Niki Giovanni

I would always choose to be the person running
rather than the mob chasing
I would prefer to be the person laughed at
rather than the teenagers laughing
I always admired the men and women who sat down
for their rights
And held in disdain the men and women who spat
on them
Everyone deserves Sanctuary a place to go where you are
Art offers Sanctuary to everyone willing
to open their hearts as well as their eyes

Music offers this as well. One of my achieved goals last night was to lead the singers and the listeners into the experience of music. When one singer destroyed the song with lapses, I persisted musically even in the little solo piano section that ended the piece and left the listeners with the possibility of a refreshing ending moment even as they witnessed the painful spectacle of a ill-prepared and humiliated young musician.

I listened to the President’s news conference on my MP3 player this morning.

Here are links mostly but not all on my to be read list.


The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG For Tuesday, Day 80 | The Nation

Greg Mitchell of the Nation has a blog which has running analysis of the Wikileaks. I thought I would bookmark it to check once in a while.


The Obama Budget: Challenging or Appeasing the GOP? | The Nation

by Ari Berman – to be read list


It Takes a Village, Not a Tiger | The Nation

by Katha Pollitt whom I have been reading for years. Her basic point is that the education problem is not a policy problem but a poverty problem.

telling quote:

“The biggest barrier to educational achievement today is not any of the things the media talk endlessly about: poorly prepared teachers, badly run schools, too many tests, low standards. It’s child poverty—which, like poverty in general, has just dropped out of the discourse.


Here’s a couple of links from totally different points of view.

The first one (by Scott Turow) I totally disagree with. Nowhere in this article on the supposed consequences of cavalier treatment of intellectual property does he mention the dramatic lengthening of the period of copyright that benefits not living creators but mostly corporations like Disney.

Would the Bard Have Survived the Web? by Scott Turow –

David Brooks compares the technological and economic environment of a grandfather (b. 1900) and a grandson (b. 1978).

The Experience Economy by David Brooks –

It is an interesting counterpart to Turow’s self serving (IMNSHO) article.


The lost art of editing | Books | The Guardian

Changing role of book editors.


Use value by Barton Swaim – The New Criterion

A review of the Fowler’s grammar classic Dictionary of Modern English Usage.


“Daybreak Gray and Grim”: How the Civil War changed Walt Whitman’s Poetry by Randall Fuller on Humanities Magazine web site.

On my “to-read” list, as are the next few.


Why the president’s budget is a success –


The Ever-More-Desperate Health Care Budget Gimmicks – Megan McArdle – Business – The Atlantic


Condoleezza Rice – The future of a democratic Egypt


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