the way out/the way in

December 31, 2014

And so here it is, December 31, 2014, approximately 8:11pm as I start writing this.

Professionally, this year was as good as I have experienced. FOUR major premieres (Minnesota Movements, the short opera Bedtime Story, Tenebrae, and the first in the Urban Legends series), more performances of Rational Exuberance, and an article on Morton Gould’s West Point Symphony accepted for publication. One of my works was selected for a performance in Plymouth, IN, and not only did Amanda and I get to attend the performance, both my parents and her parents (along with an aunt and a cousin) were able to attend as well. I go up for tenure/promotion this next academic year, and all signs point to success in that endeavor. I was able to organize my research plan and my compositional output (the aforementioned Urban Legends series), and I really feel like I am at the top of my game.

Personally, however…

The polar vortex hit on January 6. Two days later, our beloved Dachshund Julie suffered what was most likely a pretty severe stroke. The little girl held on for a couple of months, but on March 10 a decision was made and that night, with Amanda by her side, she left us. Similarly, our cranky old Hep Cat suffered kidney failure in mid-October (more on the timing of that in a moment), and – true to his spirit – left us on November 11 in the vet’s office while she was preparing to do what needed to be done. (We refer to this as Hep’s last middle finger to the world – “You can’t fire me! I quit!”) The hole in our hearts has not yet healed, nor is it likely to. Julie and Hep were family, and now our family is smaller.

The reason we had to leave town in mid-October, when Hep suffered the beginnings of his final illness, was because of another loss. Jay Flippin, the greatest total musician I have ever known, lost his battle with liver cancer on October 16. Dick Cheney still breathes air and Jay Flippin is dead – it makes you angry. Jay was and is who I want to be when I grow up. A true polymath, he spoke several languages and was as at ease discussing theology, science, and history as he was behind a piano. There are very few people for whom this is true, but in Jay’s case it is true: This world is better because Jay Flippin was in it.

My beloved wife had some health scares as well; to respect her wishes, I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say there were long stretches of existence on pins and needles. She is fine now, thankfully.

November brought a loss of a different kind; a good public servant named Jay McNamar was voted out of office and replaced with a decidedly less good public servant. Jay was (technically, as of this writing, still is) my state rep, and I’m glad he got to serve. My anger over this and other events (like Ferguson and Eric Garner) led me to say some pretty heated things, and at least three family members have severed their relationships with me. But I must and do stand behind what I say.

I didn’t blog much, but four posts seemed to resonate.
On Academia
Against Cynicism
A New Birth of Freedom
Man on the Moon

I don’t know how much more blogging I’ll do, but I don’t think I’m done yet. I have some plans to make my web presence (something I should have more of as a composer) stronger, and blogging might fit into that. I don’t want to spam everyone, though.

Also, a lot of people on Facebook want me to be Secretary of Education, so I got that going for me.

So now it’s 8:45pm CT. 3 hours and 15 minutes to go in 2014. Here’s hoping 2015 continues what 2014 started professionally, and wipes the slate clean from the personal annus horribilis. Good luck to one and all in 2015, and let’s leave everything a little better than we found it.

WF


and we’re off

January 1, 2013

It’s 2013. I’m not doing resolutions per se, but I do have some goals. Here are the first three:

(1) Have one of my pieces performed in New York City. Any of the five boroughs will suffice, and it doesn’t have to be a premiere.

(2) I have acquired a nice euphonium (compensating and everything!), so I want to become a respectable jazz euphoniumist.

(3) I want to get one article from my dissertation prepped and accepted for publication. It may not actually get published this year, but it should be accepted before December 31, 2013.

How about you, readers? What’s on your plate for 2013?

WF


six and counting

May 13, 2012

Six years ago, I married my beloved Jawa Girl. Best decision I ever made. I love her madly and more every day.

WF


smell the glove

May 12, 2012

Sorry for the absence. My beloved Jawa Girl had some back surgery this week, so I’ve been shuttling myself and the in-laws between here and the hospital. She’s back home now and recovering nicely.

WF


red black gold

April 20, 2012

21 years ago today, in Duncan Recital Hall on the campus of Morehead State University, I was initiated into the Theta Pi chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

I have done many things in my 39 years on this planet. Some have been dumb, some have been very dumb, and some have been smart. This is in the top three of the latter.

All hail!

WF


another one across the line

April 14, 2012

Christian Carey, managing editor of the great new music blog Sequenza 21/ and all-around good cat, landed himself a tenure-track gig at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Good man, good gig, good school.

UPDATE: Christian has the history of the job search up at his personal blog.

Congratulations!

 

WF


Endorsement

February 7, 2012

I know, I know, we haven’t lived in Cincinnati for nearly four years. Still, apart from my hometown in Indiana it’s where I lived the longest, and I consider it home for now. Because of this, I stay informed on the political goings-on back in the Queen City.

Those of you who live in the new 31st Ohio House District (which includes Amberley Village, Silverton, Madisonville, Clifton, Walnut Hills, St. Bernard, Norwood and other places in central Cincinnati/Hamilton County) should vote in the Democratic Primary for Luke Brockmeier. He’s running against two old-school anti-choice “Democrats,” and he’ll be a fine representative for this district. I know Luke and I’ve worked with Luke, and I can tell you this: No one will work harder to represent all the people of the 31st District. No one.

The primary is March 6. Vote for Luke Brockmeier!

WF