Monday, January 6

San Diego, Day 11

Relaxing at (what’s come to feel like) home.

Planning some activities for next stops—a fruit farm tour, some scuba trips, looking at pursuing a course with some advanced scuba, hikes.  And looking further into a future trip centered on scuba.

Much of the day’s start attending to matters related to the semester’s start at ECU.  Some last-minute changes in personnel for a program I direct require coordination of a number of people in different roles.  Everyone very cooperative and easy to work with, but all just need to be informed of changes, hear suggestions for new paths, etc.  It all went well, I think, and points to willingness of everyone to work together to both create things, as well as to solve problems.  Left me feeling good about the people I work with in this context.

I’d sent some initial ideas for “Let Them Not Say,” amounting to a few minutes of discontinuous excerpts, to James for his reactions/suggestions re suitability for his group, ECU Chamber Singers.  Rec’d his thoughtful response in the evening, and am so happy with his approach; frank, helpful, orienting me much more effectively to the group’s level—all while encouraging me not to change a thing.  Of course, I will change many things in order to make the writing more effective, but I appreciate his approach.

I’m feeling very good about the musical ideas I’m pursuing in this piece, i.e., its notes, rhythms, gestures, harmonies, shapes, formal organization.  But I’m still a long way from feeling fluent re expectations of  vocalists.  My instrumental background still looms so large at the fundamental level of writing, that sometimes the lines just don’t ‘sing’ well.  I sing them fine, but I do understand that I can be much more idiomatic, and that’s what James’ comments will help with.

With a list of vocal music to be written over these coming months, I expect to feel more fluent by August, after getting critique from all the vocalists for whom I’m writing.  And I look forward to working on strengthening those writing muscles.

The afternoon, a beautiful one, was largely spent on the patio, enjoying the sun and thinking/planning about trips to come.   We finally ventured out at about 4pm to stroll around the area,

nary an electrical box in town that isn’t made more interesting…
stopping in to shops sometimes brings a tug at the heartstrings

people-watch, shop in local quirky spots, and grab a bite.  (My first burger in weeks, and my body did not appreciate it any more than my taste buds, to be honest.)

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