Waving at Matthew …

Greetings!

Happy October (and Columbus Day, BTW!). Last post I detailed our visit by the tropical storm Hermine. Since that time, and a few days ago, we were paid a fleeting visit by an outlying part of hurricane Matthew. Thankfully, Matthew remained off the coast of Florida for almost it’s entire northerly activity. Of course we watched the weather channels and kept track of the radar. If Matthew had made landfall in central Florida and moved just a few miles to the west, we probably would have had a more complete visit. As it was, we had no power outage, no fallen trees, no torrential rain – a little wind that pushed our garden umbrella into the pool, and on and off sprinkling for one afternoon and evening.

However, having spent considerable time in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Savannah, I certainly do sympathize with the folks there, especially after seeing the video reports at the height of the storm. So, thanks for sparing us, Matthew – now get outta here!

Many things going on right now – here are the snippets:

Fall Reading List: It was supposed to go from September 21 to December 21 – BUT – I’ve already finished! I confess I did get an early start. So, if you navigate over to the Books page and check out the Winter Reading List (Winter TBR), you see several books that will hopefully last until March 21. There is a new Lee Child/Jack Reacher book (Night School) that is to be released on November 8. It will be on the list along with some of my other favorites. I hope you will read along and enjoy a mysterious holiday period.

Music Publishing: I’ve submitted two new pieces to Colla Voce, Inc. It’s a little late for this Christmas so we’ll probably need to wait a bit to see if they will appear in print for next year. I’m pleased with these arrangements. They are both for unison choir with a small instrumental accompaniment.  I Saw Three Ships is for unison choir with flute, clarinet, guitar, percussion, and piano. It’s the traditional tune with a clever quod libet accompaniment that incorporates several familiar carols simultaneously. The guitar and percussion parts are designed to be played by children.  Watchman, Tell Us of the Night is the familiar Aberyswyth tune set for two antiphonal unison choirs. The accompaniment is for double bass and vibraphone with an incidental oboe solo. The bass/vibe parts can be done on a single piano. It has a rhythmic, even jazzy feel and works particularly well for Advent.

Music Recording: If you read these pages, you already know that the compilation CD Dashing was released on September 9. It includes my In the Bleak Midwinter and Balulalow performed by The Stanbery Singers under Paul Stanbery. You’ll find complete information over on the music page under choral music.

I have a new and exciting recording project in the works!  In March, I’ll be traveling to Boston to conduct and record my “really short opera,” Frogs Always Get You in the End. It’s an eight minute piece for soprano, baritone, flute, clarinet, and cello. The charming libretto is by Ian Ruthven and is a re-do of the traditional Princess/Frog fairy tale. After the recording sessions, I’ll spend some time in New Hampshire at the Parma Recording studios where I’ll be involved in the editing/mastering process. The goal will be to eventually produce a complete CD of my music. Watch these pages for forthcoming details.

Retirement/Real Estate:

Retirement is proceeding nicely. After 40 years of having an office, the prospect of being “office-less” was a bit troubling. Thanks to my wife, the result is that we’ve converted the dining room to the best office space I’ve ever had! I have a writing station and a composing station with a complete renovation of the room. The writing desk faces the front garden with the magnolia tree, rose and camellia bushes. The music station has my midi keyboard on a pull-out shelf and new Bose speakers.

Currently I’m studying diligently to pass my Georgia state real estate salesperson exam. I’ll be joining the Aija Shrader team associated with Real Living Realty Advisors here in V-Town. We haven’t worked together since moving to Georgia in 2006. It feels great to be collaborating on projects and focused on working with each other again. The only problem is that, for so many years, I was the person who was GIVING the exams – not TAKING them! There’s a lot of information to digest, but I’m working hard to be successful. For a senior like “moi,” this turns out to be a short-term memory challenge!

As you can see – retirement can be quite busy!

Writing/Author: The one area that has fallen off the desk is my novel writing. It always seems to be the first thing to go to make room for everything else. My two protagonists are frozen in time as they pursue the bad guys. Nick Flemons is in Clearwater trying to figure out the attempted shooting of a pro baseball player, while Adrian Stone is in Cedar Key working on the strange case of the human skull discovered atop a Native American midden. Hopefully I will soon have the opportunity to breathe new life into these stories and bring them to a finish.

The family:  London – Daniela was Rosina in Barber of Seville at the Royal Opera House; Alek did a Wigmore Hall recital with pianist, Roger Vignoles. Alek is now in Oviedo, Spain singing Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte. Next month, along with my darling granddaughter, Eva, they’ll be here for an extended stay including Thanksgiving!

Dorothy is working on double master’s degrees at Westminster Choir College in Princeton while simultaneously doing lots of other creative things, including administering the young singers program at the summer Ravinia Festival in Chicago.

So life goes on … hectic, joyful, and very rewarding!  Cheers …  -JAS

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