Over The Shoulder

Payette_Lake_HBIt is one month today since we performed “The Territory” at Chamber Music Northwest.  A month seems like a good amount of time for a pause.  Long enough to let things settle down-not so long  that forgotten what all the fuss was about.

The “inevitable post-project letdown,” –which always catches me by surprise no matter how many years I’ve been doing this–was delayed this year.  The day after the final performance at St Mary’s Academy  I went right into solo papa mode so my wonderful wife, who had been shouldering the whole “run-our-daily-lives-while-my-partner-pursues-his-artistic-destiny” thing for far too long, could take a little restorative camping break.  Not surprisingly, my son Malcolm and I went the other way. We rolled out to Seaside and threw down at some skee-ball, bumper cars and arcade games.

After that I jumped right into The Shed, our PSU Intensive Summer Jazz Camp.   Four days of  all jazz all the time, 9 AM to 8 PM.  Did I say it was intensive?  Not that I’m complaining. We had some great young players, and it is inspiring to to be in the music with a bunch of people from sunup to sundown.  Needless to say I forgot all about post-project letdown for those four days.

No sooner did we turn out the lights on The Shed, than I got in the car and drove to  McCall, Idaho for a family vacation on the shores of beautiful Payette Lake, which I was privileged to enjoy thanks to the generosity of  my colleague Jeff Baker.  His family’s “cabin” – a euphemism that borders on the silly- right near the water is like a mountain paradise.  We chilled, we swam, we read books, we played foosball, we paddle-boarded, we sat in the sun, we ate ice cream, and then chilled some more.  And for a week I didn’t think about much of anything.

After a quick trip to Seattle the following Monday– (The Bolt Bus feels suspiciously similar to Greyhound when it is completely full, and the wi-fi conks out, as it did on both my trips) –and my “summer” was finally ready to start. And damned if the “inevitable post-project letdown” didn’t pick that exact moment to mosey up and slap me upside the head.  Surprise.

I’m happy to say it has done its dance and left the building–just in time to commemorate the one-month anniversary of “my big project.” And in the space left behind, I’m feeling  ready to look back at the endeavor so far. I’m also feeling energized to think about what is next- which is turning out to include some pretty awesome opportunities.  So it is time for mapping again. Time to sharpen the tools, check supplies, scout out new ground.

Meanwhile, here is a link to a recording of the 1st movement “Hymn to the Four Winds” from the performance at Kaul Auditorium.  Thanks to Matt Snyder for an awesome job of live recording.

http://www.instantencore.com/work/work.aspx?work=5074269

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Interlude (Reading Break)

ImageWell it is August 1 and I still haven’t done the wrap up post on my Territory concerts in Portland. 

The desire to relax and take a bit of summer has overtaken me.  Or maybe it is just that the first gray day in a month or so has inspired the irresistible urge to stop working and catch up on a backlog of pleasurable reading.

Which is why I just discovered this funny, thought-provoking and very satisfying essay by Dan DeWeese in the spring edition of the Oregon Humanities Magazine  called “Burning Bushes.”   It is a very apropos comparison of our culture’s complete saturation in media  with what he playfully defines as an original media spectacle– The Burning Bush from which God spoke to Moses.

My favorite line (among many) so far in  my first reading:

In other words, attempting to live while constantly surrounded by spectacle is not a quality problem, it’s a quantity problem. I know Terry Gross is smart, a good interviewer, and a valued figure in the media landscape; I’m also tired of her, because she has been chattering for years. How am I to reconcile that I like and respect her and also wouldn’t mind if I never heard her voice again?

If you enjoy essays, long-form journalism, or, like me, need some worthwhile act of civil disobedience to the hegemony of work- read the whole thing at this link:

http://oregonhumanities.org/magazine/issue/spectacle/dan-deweese-on-burning-bushes