Hilltop Diary, Dec. 9, 2020

It’s been back home and to working unrelentingly, as usual.  I wrote two articles, one on the King’s College “Lessons and Carols” service at Cambridge, England (for The Epoch Times), and one called “Was Beethoven Egotistical?” (for The Imaginative Conservative) – both to be published on Dec. 16, Beethoven’s birthday. 

A lot of time has also been devoted to preparing the presentation slides (Power Point) for my Wed. online classes, of which only two remain:  today’s on Richard Wagner, and next week’s final class shared between Palestrina and Rachmaninov.

I have been doing a little hobby on the side, constructing a model train track (“O” scale, the larger ones) near the top of the wall, close to the ceiling, around my composing studio.  Here is just a peep at how it will look, with only the train engine (see top of photo). When it is done, maybe in the next diary post, I’ll post a little movie of the whole train going around the whole room.

train track in progress

I’m just putting some 1” X 6” boards up with brackets and will then lay the track on top over a foam cushion track pad to absorb the noise.

This week I had an offer to compose a piece for the Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra in Moscow and said yes, if I can use some of the music I will be composing for my upcoming ballet as a suite for the concert hall. So that’s the plan. Perhaps their performance (and recording of the CD album they will make of it) will take place in January 2020, and of course Crystal wants to go to Moscow and get a fur hat there!

We decided there were just too many obstacles with the virus to make the trip to Portugal at the end of this month and will try to reschedule that for sometime in 2021. (I will do some consulting there for a new recording studio near Porto.)

I helped out as an usher at the Hendersonville Performing Arts Company’s charming stage production of “A Christmas Story” last weekend and saw that everything appears to be on track for my show, Dear Miss Barrett, to go on there as scheduled in June 2021. They seated the audience groups (of family or friends who came together) apart from other groups, and we sprayed the place down with disinfectant afterwards. The actors did not have to be in close proximity to each other for that show and did not all need masks, but a couple of them wore a very discreet, clear face guard with their little head microphone inside of it. Maybe by June that won’t be necessary.

By some miracle of joint effort, Crystal and I got our annual Christmas poem written, with Christmas stamps and cards to go out, and sent our family gift boxes off in the mail yesterday, and will send out our cards in a few days. I’ll post this year’s poem here next time for those readers we don’t know (who therefore aren’t on our card list, no slight intended!).  For us, it is still Advent, and we observe it with sober reflection and anticipation around the Advent wreath – no Christmas tree or decorations in the house yet. Then we keep our tree up till Epiphany (after the 12th day of Christmas) and usually longer, even through January!

I started a crash diet after we got back from our Florida trip (see previous post) and have shed six pounds the first week. I’m determined this time! 

Wishing you a healthy December! Be careful out there!


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