Hilltop Diary, May 24, 2021

All goes smoothly at the Hilltop, which is to say as full of crazy, varied activities as ever, but each in its order and according to plan. Crystal’s school is winding up this week, having launched the eighth graders into the world (or the next piece of it) at their graduation ceremony over the weekend.

I continue working on:  a) the lawn, which seems in constant need of mowing at this time of year, and keeping up the flower and vegetable gardening; b) my two articles a month for The Epoch Times (I just turned in a new one on Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and how his wedding march from that ballet became a wedding tradition for many people); and c) writing and recording my weekly radio show (there are now three new episodes done, on Mozart, Schubert, and what I call “The One-Hit Wonders of Classical Music.” You can hear the first eleven episodes archived and streaming at no charge by clicking above on the “Adventures” tab, our show web page.

As her school teaching winds down, Crystal is memorizing and rehearsing her lines, songs, and choreography for the title role of my show, Dear Miss Barrett, and she is also preparing to audition for another show that will run in the fall. This week we will continue to rehearse my show, scene by scene, including the four separate kinds of rehearsal: acting, blocking (positioning on stage), singing, and choreography.

The choreographers run the dance rehearsals, the music director runs the singing rehearsals, the director runs the acting and blocking rehearsals, and I run my mouth, probably a tiny bit too much. It is hard to remain 100% quiet when something you conceived out of nothing and wrote on a couple of hundred blank pages is being brought to life and made their own by others, but I try (and usually succeed) in sharing my child and letting them all do their jobs. And they are doing a fantastic job and, it already appears, making much of it sound better than it probably deserves to sound.

Tickets are already selling! Click on the Dear Miss Barrett show link at the top of this page, if you are wanting to know where to get tickets. I’m very happy that some friends and family will even be coming from out of town to see the show, and of course coming just as much to see Crystal’s performance. For us, it will be a great excuse to celebrate seeing them!

This Wednesday, May 26, I will be speaking at Nashville’s Aquinas College to a music class about my approach to composing music in the year 2021. I will be explaining that my music is not bizarre and futuristic but traditional, but I prefer to call that “timeless”. I will also be participating soon as a pundit, for lack of a better word, in a documentary film on music that some film-makers in New Orleans are making, and we had a Zoom meeting about that a few days ago.

A mutual friend (a journalist in England who wrote articles about both of us) put the U.K. composer Sir James MacMillan in touch with me, and I am enjoying that opportunity to engage in a correspondence with him. All of these things hearken back to my first sentence about things being as lively as always. I could get overwhelmed but thank God for a measure of health and strength to enjoy it all, and I wish you the same.

By the way, for those of you who may have recently come aboard, the image for all of these blogs is “Hill Top” (2 words, as opposed to our one word, Hilltop), the home of Beatrix Potter (who wrote Peter Rabbit) in the Lake District of England, after which we named our own home, since it sits at the top of a hill, albeit a hill of modest size.

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