Hilltop Diary, October 19, 2022

Last Friday, October 14, the day finally came for our big record release party, also serving as a celebration of my designation by the state legislature and the governor as Composer Laureate of the State of Tennessee. We were happy to celebrate with over sixty guests who, as their busy lives allowed, were able and did honor us with their presence! What a great time! There was a great live jazz trio, gourmet hors d’ouevres, manifold libations, and everyone looking great and meeting old and new friends! So many impressive people of many occupations, including some distinguished musicians! What an honor that such people came, and what a pleasure to just take it in and see them all having so much fun together. Crystal and I were able to talk at least a little with pretty much everyone, and to plan with many of them to get together again soon so we will have more time to catch up.

From upper left going clockwise, here are just a few photos with descriptions:

Photos from Record Release Party

1. Yours truly giving a word of thanks and recognition to those who contributed to the album or the party. Wasn’t planning to talk but was asked, so I kept it short.

2. A lovely trio (L to R) of Crystal Kurek, Leslie Eiler Thompson, and Tyler Samuel – all accomplished performing vocalists who do other things really well, too.

3. Tucker Biddlecombe, conductor of the Nashville Symphony chorus who conducted all the choral music on my album. (See, under the album title it says “And Other Works”!)

4. The great Chris Saunders Jazz Trio. Chris has an impressive resume, having played with Liza Minelli, Chuck Berry, the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Ensemble, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Harry Connick Sr. and others. Chris became a friend when he sat next to me in the audience at one of Crystal’s shows a few years ago and kindly donated his performance to this event! They sounded so great, and in some ways they really “made” the party.

5. (L to R) Maestro Robin Fountain, conductor of the European Recording Orchestra in my Symphony No. 2 on the album. Then yours truly. Then Kip Winger, platinum-selling rock star and Grammy-nominated classical composer. Then the fabulous Brian Siewart, multiple-Emmy-Award winning television composer, also toured as a pianist with Winona Judd and done all sorts of other cool things. I could have included more photos, but I think these are enough to give you a sense of the party. (Picture tables of food and bar tenders, too!)

Last, but by NO means least, after I have told my own Cinderella story, is what is sure to be a wonderful show to be given only this weekend by my better half and her colleagues at Audience of One Productions/ Capitol Theater in the greater Nashville area. Crystal will bring to life one of the plum roles, Cinderella, in Sondheim’s show Into the Woods. While it is no secret that the old tuneful, classic shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe top my personal favorites list (call me old-fashioned), this 1987 show is very much loved by many, and this cast is sure to give an entertaining and excellent rendition. No wonder that it’s selling out fast, but if you act faster you can still get a ticket HERE.

Cinderella Before and After

Meanwhile, Crystal is already rehearsing ANOTHER Cinderella show, the one called Cinderella by none other than my own aforementioned favorite team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. This one will be performed Dec. 2 – 17 by the Pull-Tight Players in Franklin, Tennessee. Plenty of time to get your tickets at this site (click on this). Everyone, including me, says Crystal was born to play the character of Cinderella, and I’m so happy she’s getting to do both of these two musical theater versions of the story!

As things settle down with the album release, I’m already back to composing many hours a day on the ballet commission that I’ve been featuring here – I should have another audio excerpt to share here next time and will keep you posted on how it’s going.

Though it is getting to be late October now, we have only just started having our first colder days here. It feels like fall is only just now getting underway. I still cannot say that I’m ready for it. Summer went by too fast for me. I wish you a great one!

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