I knew February was short, but … did it happen?

Greetings all!

I sit here observing the beautiful rose bush embracing the mailbox in the front yard, and realize that it’s March 7 – egad!

We had a great Minneapolis/NYC trip to hear Alek (Soler – Diana’s Garden), Daniela (Dvorak –Rusalka), and Dorothy (Rachmaninoff – Midnight Vespers). Of course, that was all topped by the quality time we spent with Eva, or, as she calls herself – “Vavi.” We stayed at the Beacon Hotel at 75th and Broadway, a short two block walk to the Alek/Daniela/Eva abode, and a short cab ride to just about anywhere we were going. We also took Eva to Riverside Park and had some great, albeit a bit chilly, outside time. Musically, all performances were terrific! Alek’s physical comedy is second to none and his voice is finely burnished. Daniela had no trouble filling the Met with her glorious sound, even in the small role of the Kitchen Boy. Dorothy and The Westminster Choir were sublime in the a cappella Rachmaninoff. It was a great start to the new season!

Let’s go round the categories:


Well, the Spring TBR list hasn’t even started yet, but I’ve already finished the first book! It was the new Tom Gabriel adventure by British author, Tim Ellis entitled “Games of the Dead.” Ellis is incredibly prolific and writes in a way that keeps me totally absorbed. I’m also reading his Parish & Richards series, the latest tome of which will appear a bit later. Next on the Spring List is Scotsman, Ian Rankin’s new John Rebus mystery, “Rather Be the Devil.” I just started it this morning, but it’s a page turner like most of Rankin’s work. Later on, I’ll delve into fellow Valdostan Michael Orenduff’s “The Pot Thief Who Studied D.H. Lawrence,” which is the latest Hubie Schuze escapade. If you don’t know this series, you’re really missing out!

Take a peek at the Book Page/Reading Lists on this website to see what else is in store for the Spring.


I spent most of the post travel time editing the final scores and parts of my Really Short Opera – Frogs Always Get You in the End (Story by Ian Ruthven). I now have a good set of production materials including a piano-vocal score, a full score, and flute, clarinet, and cello parts. Aija and I will fly to Boston on April 20 to record the opera. I will conduct the recording as well as be involved in the editing and mastering. The session will take place in the beautiful Shalin Liu performance space. The Princess will be sung by soprano, Aliana de la Guardia and the Frog will be sung by baritone, Brian Church. This is a dream come true for me and I am terribly excited about it. After the recording, I plan to make a set of production materials available directly from me, so that hopefully others will produce this little show to the delight of all, especially children.

In other musical activities, I still hope to convince Colla Voce to publish my arrangements of “Watchman Tell Us of the Night” and “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In” for the 2017 holiday season. I think they would have broad appeal to performer and listener alike.

And, I continue to write some new pieces for the Georgia Ambassadors of Music tour of Europe in 2018.


I’ve eschewed the traditional Spring Training (Phillies) trip to Clearwater this year! Instead, I’m going to spend three glorious weeks in Phoenix/Tucson with my darling granddaughter, Eva, while Mommy and Daddy sing opposite each other in Arizona Opera’s production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. I love being the Grandpa-nanny to this wonderful munchkin! I’m sure I will be loaded with tales for this blog – stay tuned! Alek and Daniela met in a production of Cenerentola when they were both in the Merola program at San Francisco Opera. The rest, as they say, is history!

Now, Spring Training is not completely out of site because my beloved Cleveland Indians train in Phoenix! I think I can do two games – Wahoo!

There are many more opera/babysitting travels on the horizon as we follow our two favorite opera singers and their amazing little girl! (I apologize for the over-gush!) More later …

Real Estate

Wow, do I have a lot to learn! Aija is a fabulous teacher and sometimes a tough task-master, but I am slowly figuring out how to do this. In these few short passing months, I have actually listed a house and sold a few more. I find the work falls into two categories, the technological side of figuring out the various computer programs and the servant attitude that brings success with clients and customers. The former presents a somewhat steep learning curve, but I continue to improve and become familiar. The latter, however, is a bit of a struggle for me. This will come as no surprise to those of you who know me. (I think that’s everybody here, I mean, who else reads this stuff?!) Anyway, it’s no secret to many folks that I like to tell people what to do and how to do it! That doesn’t cut it as a successful Realtor! Aija is just about perfect in this profession with just the right combination of pluck and grace. I hope I can come close!

Anyway, money is beginning to come in and my goal of adding to my retirement and social security funds is becoming a reality.


I find negotiating the pathways of a life to be interesting, thought-provoking, joyous, terrifying, sometimes depressing, and always surprising.

If you made it to these 900 plus words, I sincerely thank you. I will ask you to like, comment, and all that stuff because that’s what bloggers are supposed to do. It doesn’t really work here, but I do like to hear from you occasionally.

I’m looking forward to doing more regular journaling as the Phoenix trip unfolds. That’s all for now, except to say that Moxie says, “Hi!”  Cheers!  – Jim

This entry was posted in Authors, Blogging, Choir Directors, Choirs, Choral Music, Church Music, Composers, Mysteries, Opera, Real Estate, Thrillers, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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