We have arrived. Yesterday afternoon Tracy and I rolled into Kansas City in a too-big U-Haul (17 foot!), towing our poor Camry behind us, and within an hour were moving things into our new apartment. By the workings of Providence we arrived as an upstairs neighbor was moving out, and we were able to hire her three gigantic movers to unload our truck for us (which saved us hours of hard labor and possibly injury to me, since Tracy’s on the mend from a foot injury and wouldn’t be able to do a lot). Thanks be to God for all good things.
It is difficult to put into words my feeling about this change, but it is very good. The apartment is amazing: a large two bedroom in an old brick six-plex, with a beautiful shady screened porch in front (in which we have already enjoyed one meal, to be followed I am quite sure by many more). Unpacking is always a chore, but the place is already beginning to feel like home, and more of a home than our Muncie apartment ever was. It feels very much like our apartment in Pasadena did, for those of you who experienced it. For those who didn’t… well, you’ll just have to come visit us, then (hint hint).
Speaking of Pasadena, the area of Kansas City where we are bears some striking resemblances, including a beautiful outdoor shopping district (“The Plaza”) that feels very much like Old Town. Right now we’re sitting in the public library branch near us, which is large and full of art, and this afternoon we had lunch at McCormick and Schmick’s. The only things missing are our friends and Trader Joe’s.
We’re excited about living in Kansas City. It’s beautiful here, with lots of parks and great architecture. Locals tell us KC is known as “the city of fountains,” and I believe them–they’re everywhere. We’re one block east of a gigantic free park with ponds and streams and such, a few blocks south of the Plaza, and less than a mile from campus. I haven’t had much interaction with UMKC folks yet, but the ones with whom I have have been both nice and helpful, and I’m supposed to meet one of the composition professors for a beer sometime soon. A month ago when we were here for entrance exams I met a few other incoming doctoral students, a married couple who were both singers and who seemed quite nice. I think things here are going to be great.
Other news and such to follow. Stay tuned…
Tomorrow begins the second week of classes for spring semester. “Spring.” That’s what they call it, at least. When it’s not wet and cold out there, it’s generally dry and cold (rain or snow being generally ubiquitous lately). No matter, such is January back here in the midwest. Ah, how distance makes life out west all the rosier in retrospect!
There have been some changes for this semester. I am no longer tutoring a small army of theory students, but now am actually in front of their class talking. It’s been 5 years since I last taught in a classroom, so it’s taking a little re-getting used to, but I really enjoy it. This is what I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m teaching two sections of what is informally referred to as “Sight/Ear,” and which has many other possible names–aural theory, or ear training and sight singing–, along with a few composition lessons. This also means I’ve picked up another 10 hours of work each week, which means a stipend on top of tuition. Definitely welcome.
Over December I managed to find a final barline for my De Profundis, although I’ve been letting it percolate for the past few weeks without looking at it because I know there will be some tweaking and revisions to be made. Overall, I would say this is the most ambitious, and probably best executed, piece of music I’ve written, and I’m anxious to hear it performed (hopefully this spring). The next project is in the brainstorming stage, the only detail decided for certain being that it will be orchestral. I’ve been thinking thoughts about it, but that, dear reader, is all you get for now.
Classes this semester: Analytical Techniques (music theory), Principles of Music Theory (music theory pedagogy), and (of course) composition lessons. That, along with my teaching load, is enough to keep me quite occupied.
And away I go…
A pictorial reprise:
I’m scratching “theology student” from my little “about” deal over there. It’s hard to believe, but the wife and I are both done with everything for Fuller. Everything has been mailed off, e- and otherwise, and any theology reading following today will be uncoerced.
The big final paper took me most of yesterday and today to finish (not to mention the past few weeks of slogging through Balthasar and Hart); but, despite my earlier predictions, I don’t think it is actually all that bad. Parts are even good, although given another day/week/month I would have polished/expanded/rewritten others.
My attention turns now to catching up with work I was able to postpone for BSU, which I expect will be comparatively relaxed and easy going. I hope to finish my De Profundis before the end of the semester and get started on something new, and it looks like an arrangement of one movement from Separations (which I have extracted as the standalone Elegy) will be given a performance in November by the BSU graduate string quartet.
Going to Fuller was an amazing experience and a great blessing, and I am very grateful to have been able to do it. All the same, with it now complete, I’m exquisitely happy to be diving into my musical life again with both feet. This is what I studied theology in order to do: be a musician, a composer, with a strong theological foundation to my work.
I hope, too, that I can fill out this blog according to its original purpose. I’ve written a lot about theology over the past two years, and less about music. It is, after all, new mus(ings)ic, and perhaps I can better unite the two now that my attention will be differently focused.
So congratulations to my lovely wife for finishing a day ahead of me–and what the heck, I’ll congratulate myself for finishing, as well. Onward!