Hilltop Diary, September 22, 2019

Like many places, Hilltop is still having a bit of late summer heat going into the first day of fall tomorrow; the flowers have to be watered twice a day to survive. Yet, leaves begin to fall and you can hear the tapping of acorns raining down and hitting the ground every minute or two from our oaks. Deer with many young, spotted fauns munch on them in abundance in the front yard off and on all day. The fauns in the photo had momentarily stopped munching acorns for a quick drink of milk.

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This past week saw The Sea Knows reach 152,000 streams on Spotify, and they continually grow in number each month – thanks!  I have been composing and am coming down the home stretch of movement three of my symphony. It has turned into a more epic tale than I first imagined. I’ll write more about what makes it “epic” when it is done, and I’ll post a mockup audio/video file.

As my new book, The Sound of Beauty, finally trickles out to those who placed a pre-order, the newspaper of the Diocese of Nashville, the Tennessee Register, has done a nice article on it this week to give it some visibility, at least locally. (CLICK HERE) (or see photo below) A conference-call marketing meeting with the publisher and PR company will take place this coming week to discuss their plans for national ads and interviews.

Register pdfI have enjoyed spending a good bit of extra time creating power point slides for my online course, which uses my book as a textbook. But if I am invited to give a talk about the book at a conference or retreat, I can probably use a lot of these slides for those, too, since they essentially illustrate all the main points in my book.

Tomorrow is my birthday, which I tend to shun and do not post on social media or celebrate with more than my wife and perhaps a couple of friends over dinner. I would not mention it here, except that this year it has caused me to look at how the world has changed since I was young, not only in technology but sociologically. And much of the change is not for the better. Perhaps you, too, feel like the proverbial frog in the pot of water that has been gradually heating up to boiling, so gradual has been the change. Far from gradually improving and becoming a Utopian society on earth, which could never be done anyway, today’s world has much greater rudeness, crude entertainment, vulgarity, and irrational anger on all sides of public discourse. My birthday tomorrow also marks the feast day of one of my patron saints, Padre Pio, to whom I lament these things. But it is said that it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness, and my music is my single candle. Perhaps at least I can keep that candle lit and try to add some tiny bit of beauty to this frightening world, for those few it might encourage.

I leave you with my short brass ensemble piece, Conquest, performed by the great all-pro ensemble, the Tri Star Brass — Go out there and conquer!

Conquest (large brass ensemble and percussion, the Tri Star Brass)                             

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