my first love



Yesterday I spent some time continuing to empty files. Eileen and I decided it would be good to have the master bedroom ready for visitors by Christmas. This means getting rid of four file cabinets. I have decided to sort through and mostly throw away (recycle) stuff. The first few drawers are of my old compositions.

I spend quite a bit of mental energy trying to understand myself as a musician against the background of today’s attitudes towards music.


When it comes down to it I think of myself as a working artisan. This requires continually sharply distinguishing myself from musical understandings that are not my own.

I think I first fell in love with music by making it up. I can trace this to the young adolescent Jupe sitting alone at a church piano doodling. Although at the time I was a pretty good cornet player and probably taking piano lessons, my most vivid memories are of solitary music making.


I drifted musically quite a bit. Played trumpet throughout high school with some success, played organ and piano with pick up dance bands and rock and roll bands, and learned guitar and wrote my own songs.


At one point I decided to go back to college (only the second time I did this, more of this indecisiveness was to come). I had this romantic notion that I wanted to study composition. I wasn’t really that proficient as a pianist at the time. I moved to Delaware Ohio with the idea of studying piano to make the entrance exams at Ohio Wesleyan University and study composition there.

This I did.

Before this I had done quite a bit of writing and studying of music, mostly self-taught.

Going through manuscripts yesterday has put me a mood to reminisce a bit.

I found the actual original manuscript of the recorder duets I wrote while my first wife was in labor with my son.  I would change my whole attitude toward marriage and birth later, but at that time I was the despicable dude waiting for the baby outside the room. My friend Dave Barber sat with me on the lawn outside the hospital as we waited.

I wrote duets. As I completed each one we would play through them. At least this is the way I remember it these days. I can’t vouch too confidently for my self delusional aging memory.

Anyway, here’s the photo of the manuscript. It’s one I didn’t throw away of course.


I have managed to discard about 80% of the music I have looked at so far. Over the years I have written a lot of music, most of it for immediate use at church. Come to think of it, this was part of my attraction to church  music.


I would be in the position of having a room and musicians at my disposal. It would be up to me to come up with creative ways to use them to perform my compositions.


This is the stack I saved yesterday. I have one more drawer full to sift through. I am keeping things that have meaning for me now.  Manuscripts that I prepared prior to using software represent an awful lot of effort. It’s hard to discard ink manuscripts I labored over. So I’m not doing that.


I haven’t really pursued a coherent musical career that can be easily understood by others. It makes sense to me, however. The last couple of decades I have worked at my keyboard technique. This has been very satisfying. But composition is still my first love and I’m never that far from making up new music.

I made up a dessert yesterday.

I ground nuts, a few dried cranberries.


I pressed them on the bottom of some custard dishes. Diced up pears and spread them over the nuts. Then I boiled up some frozen blueberries with a dash of brown sugar and vanilla. Cooled this then poured it over the pears.



I had enough for four servings. Eileen and I had one each last night. I thought it tasted pretty good.



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