This has been a perfectly marvelous year for music! I’ve had the opportunity to play a smattering of just about everything but the kitchen sink – flute and clarinet for professional musical theater production, clarinet in an orchestra as well as two chamber ensembles, flute/clarinet/vocals on a jazz gig, a little button accordion on folk tunes, conga and guitar for an international set, bass clarinet and bassoon when the band needed a bass line – what more could I throw in?
Although it sounds absolutely chaotic, it has been quite marvelous actually – because I’m playing with colleagues and students who I adore. My students are especially fearless when it comes to trying new styles and experimenting with improvising and creating arrangements. There’s music in the air and I’m taking big sips every day!
My most recent adventure – learning early New Orleans jazz and Cajun music. Last year I returned to the southern stoppin’ grounds with my OWU colleagues to explore Mississippi River Road culture, botany, literature haunts and lots of Louisiana music. I headed back in summer 2013 to spend a week in Lafayette in the heart of Cajun country, taking in as much of that musical heritage as I could and working with the Savoys on my German single-row button accordion. This was followed by a week devoted to the adult camper life at the New Orleans Trad Jazz Camp. What a rich experience in my Dear Old Southland! What’s more, thanks to the generosity of the Mellon Foundation and the OWU TEW Professional Development grants, I’m headed back a few more times in the next two years.
If there’s a name for this kind of musical life it would be something like: Eclectic-Pan-Genre-Multi-Timbre Charmed Life!