Hilltop Diary, December 9, 2022

As they get done, I’ve been posting here my virtual mockups/demo’s of the new pieces from my in-progress ballet. Below, I am happy to share with you the newest one! These will be recorded by a live human orchestra in Europe in fall of 2023 for an album and performed live with dancers in the U.S. in June, 2024. I hope you enjoy hearing these preview versions. In ballet, the pieces can be short; this one is only 3:40 long. I’ve been skipping around and composing these pieces out of order, and this one happens to be no. 3 in Act One. Now all eight numbers in Act One are done, plus a couple in Act 2. (Several can be found in previous diary entries.)

In this scene, the long awaited baby Raffaella is born, and I have written a lushly romantic love theme to show the extreme emotion and love of the parents for this new baby. Then the women of the village do an elegant dance to celebrate, and the men follow with a robust bass version of the dance. Finally, in a full orchestra climax, the love theme returns to express the joy of all of them at the blessed event.

It appears the ballet impresario who hired me may now be close to signing a contract with a choreographer, and quite a distinguished one. It has been a long search to find the right one. It will be an honor to have my name on the billing with him, if it works out. We’ll be collaborating to refine the story, so I’ll possibly tweak some of the music later, as needed. More details as they firm up.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you did, too. Crystal went right back to work after that with both her full-time school music teaching job and her current theater production. She had a great opening in the title role of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Cinderella with the Pull-Tight Players in Franklin, Tennessee. They sold out every performance very quickly. I have been to five of the performances and look forward to a few more, not just because she is in them but because I really just enjoy seeing them again! I have also learned a lot by observing multiple performances of all of Crystal’s shows about how to organize a show and how not to. Just by watching people bump into each other and how they get around and on and off the stage you can learn a lot about blocking and things like sound and lighting. I tried to apply these lessons to my own show, “Dear Miss Barrett” , scheduled for a new production this May 19 – 28, 2023 at the Center for the Arts in Murfreesboro.

Our appliance repair woes have continued! Yikes. When it rains, it pours. In recent days we’ve had to have repaired our refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes dryer, clothes washer, a car, the house’s circuit breaker, and a broken door that had to be completely replaced! All of these happened back to back and a couple of times at once. I’m sure you have your share of these kinds of problems, but I hope not all at once.

UPDATE: I was honored to be included in The Nashville Scene (Dec. 15 issue), with a nice feature on my new album as their highlight in classical music of the year 2022. I was really pleased with how accurately the journalist captured the spirit of my work, which is not always the case when you do interviews. If you want to check it out, click HERE. Or pick up one for free at one of the several hundred news stands they have in Nashville area stores.

4676-charlie-brown-christmas-tree-coloring-page_1024x1024We are nearing the end of the second week of Advent. That means a time of expectation and waiting and solemn reflection and penitence, with hymns like “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” For me, it would be missing a blessing to skip over the message of Advent. In our tradition, the Christmas season doesn’t officially begin till Christmas Day, and then our tree stays up in the front window till Candlemas on Feb. 2, just in case the neighbors didn’t already think we were nuts. And by then the totally dry, fire-hazardous needles fall off with a tinkling sound if you just look at them, like they do near the end of the Charlie Brown Christmas special. So I’ll wish you a happy Advent, a great Beethoven’s birthday (Dec. 17), Hanukkah, Festivus, and any other celebrations (or perhaps birthdays) you may celebrate. However you do it, I wish you love, peace, and joy. 

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