Welp, it’s been a summer.

I mentioned a “family health” thing a couple of posts ago. On June 17, exactly one year after we lost my mother, my mother-in-law Lauretta Beck Philhower died. She was only 71, and her loss has been a gut punch. Lauretta was a kind soul with a great laugh and a love of good music. We miss her terribly.

Then there was some reshuffling at work, and now I find myself running the assessment program for the entire institution. That’s fine. My predecessor did a bang-up job of creating mechanisms, so all I need to do for right now is top off the fluids and keep the tires inflated. This does move me into an even-larger administrative role. Be careful what you wish for, kids.

Also, I’m recovering, as the Covid finally caught me last week. Made it 2 1/2 years. Since I’m double-vaxxed and boosted, it was just a really bad cold for me. Still, 0/10, would not recommend. This meant I had to bail on playing in my first pit orchestra in nearly two decades. My guess is, the mute changes were so involved they wore me out, which weakened my immune system.

Long story short, the opera isn’t done yet. That’s OK. I have no performances scheduled. I hope to get back to work on it some this week. I can tell you that Acts I and III are finished, and if I’m being honest, the ending is beautiful – everything I would want. This is primarily due to Dave Cole’s libretto, but I’m going to allow myself a little brag and say the music is awesome as well.

The Australian performance of Triple Double had to be postponed for one month, but it happened last week. You can watch it here – it’s the second piece on the program, but do watch the whole thing, as Kara Williams and her accomplices play a variety of excellent pieces by a variety of excellent composers. This performance is easily one of the top three performances of my music in terms of quality. I was honored and humbled to sit in my living room Wednesday night and listen. My beloved, not one for effusive praise, said, “that was really good.” Check it out.

I have started opening some channels for a performance opportunity (well, the playing of a recording) that would be out of this world. More on that if it develops into something. Suffice it to say that growing up in Pinhook, Indiana (pop. 19) you don’t expect to hear your music at essentially the Antipodes of Pinhook. So once I’ve been heard in Australia, what else is there? (I’m still working on Asia, Africa, South America, and yes, even Antarctica.)

Also, I saw Antipodes of Pinhook at H.O.R.D.E. in 1996.

Thank you all for coming on this journey with me. Let’s see what’s next together.

WF

One of my treasured memories is a great weekend Jawa Girl and I spent in Boston shortly before moving back to Cincinnati in 2007. We walked the Freedom Trail, had some great food and shopping at Quincy Market, enjoyed some pastries from the North End, and watched everyone celebrate a Red Sox no-hitter. It’s a great city with a lot to offer. We have good friends who grew up there, and good friends who live close by. And what a rich musical and academic history!

So yeah, the events of yesterday hurt.

I am not going to hazard a guess as to who was responsible (though you’d better believe I have some ideas). Our first priority now must be to bind the wounds of the injured, soothe the souls of the hurting, and memorialize those who were killed. Justice will come, and it will roll down like a mighty river, but it will come properly. We must not lash out blindly. We did that once, and it didn’t work.

Rather, let us devote our energies to love. Love beats hate every time. Let us love one another. As W. H. Auden said in “September 1, 1939,” we must love one another or die.

WF

(1) All of our stuff finally arrived yesterday. The unpacking has begun. Everything which needs to be at the office is at the office, and almost unpacked. The bedroom is complete. The kitchen is about 85 – 90% done. (That’s all Jawa Girl’s doing.)

(2) I lost two relations by marriage in two days. My cousin Betty’s husband Paul died Sunday after a long illness, and my cousin Harry Lee’s wife Rhea Dawn died suddenly Monday after a massive stroke. Betty and Harry Lee are siblings (two of seven from my mom’s Aunt Jessie and Uncle Ralph). It’s been challenging back home, to say the least. Paul and Rhea Dawn were both wonderful people, and though we weep for them, we know they are at rest.

(3) This is a really good bunch of students. I have to bring my “A” game every single day, and then beyond.

(4) Presenting at a conference in early October. Guess I’d better book the flight.

WF

There are no words. I hope the victims of the Aurora shooting find the peace and healing they need. I hope the perpetrator is given a fair trial and an appropriate punishment. And I hope we have a real discussion at some point about what is going on here.

Yes, I mean guns.

WF

“No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars be honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.” – Howard Zinn

WF

The Czech playwright who helped topple totalitarianism in his home country and became its president has passed away at the age of 75. Havel deserves more credit than he’s given (and certainly more than Reagan, Thatcher, et al) for ending the Cold War. Also: While I wouldn’t begin to claim that all creative types naturally make good leaders, let the record show that Havel was a playwright and poet (and even Reagan, the most overrated President in history, was an actor). Do not think that creative types – even Hollywood types – can’t be political leaders.

WF