Hilltop Diary, August 12, 2020

OliverThanks to a second course of antibiotics, I am happy to report that our well-loved kitty Oliver has fully recovered from whatever infection appeared to bring him near death’s door when I last wrote. Here he is, snoozing happily with his brother, Noah (behind him), on a typical sunny afternoon.

In the woods outside, the deer appear to have had a very productive quarantine time, with several young fawns now joining them in their daily visits to our back garden. They are used to us and seldom even run away when we come out or pull a car out of the garage. There are a couple of small foxes who regularly dash across the landscape now. yellow finchPresumably, they are in search of smaller game than even the baby fawns. And it is hard to keep our three bird-feeders full of seed, with all the birds. Yesterday, we were happy to see that the yellow finches have returned, after several months on sabbatical leave from our yard.

Crystal has already started the “fall” semester at her new teaching position at St. Edward School in Nashville, and the students have also returned in force. The parochial school system here is opening with students present in person and, we hope, virtuously, while the public schools are only opening virtually. This has tended to bolster the number of enrollees who want to attend her school in person, perhaps (we guess) in some cases because the parents need to go to work and get their kids out of the house.

Meanwhile, since last writing, I had some further training in virtual teaching technology and have been preparing power points for my upcoming classes for Homeschool Connections. I will be teaching just one hour a week on “the great composers” with a group of students, live, but also recording a music theory class for students to take in recorded form. This still leaves me a great deal of composing time, and I’ve already made further progress on the last movement of my symphony. I hope to finish composing it by Labor Day! Then it will take at least another month of fulltime work to edit the score and prepare the players’ individual parts for that movement. (The previous movement parts have been prepared as the movements were completed.) I will be posting a virtual audio of this final movement and will put the link in a future entry here when it is ready. We are not supposed to record the symphony till next March, assuming orchestras can play and record together by then.

This past week I did a “Facebook Live” interview with my book publisher, Ignatius Press, which you can watch HERE. Only, I must warn you that I do not like watching myself on video! Maybe you feel the same way about watching yourself. It seems very strange to most of us, as one notices all one own flaws. I have another podcast interview coming up in a few days and have also been greatly honored by being asked to give the inaugural talk in a new lecture series, “Siena Lectures: Bridging Heaven and Earth” at Aquinas College on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

This past week, Catholic World Report published a substantial interview with me as a feature story, HERE. And finally, today (August 12, 2020) my first article as a paid music writer for The Epoch Times appeared in their New York print edition and online. READ IT HERE. It offers a comparison of two songs, one from “The Great American Songbook” and the other, a new popular hit, to show how songwriting has changed over the years.

Wishing you, likewise, a healthy and productive couple of weeks, until we meet here again!

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