I don’t even know where to begin after the last 30 days, but it has been exciting, thought-provoking, reflective, and emotional.
“Moravian Dance” (PMEA District 5 Band), “For the Love of a Soldier” (PMEA District3 JH Band), and “Shine!” (YSU University Band) have enjoyed great performances – my thanks to Jack Anderson (University of Pittsburgh) and David M. Blon (YSU Graduate Assistant & Assistant Director at Mercer HS) for their part in bringing this music to life.
I have cleared two major hurdles at Kent State this semester and now find myself in the “belly of the beast” so to speak as I begin analyzing data from a research study. It is my hope this study will lead me to focus the scope and subject matter of my dissertation. In the back of my mind, preparation for my comprehensive exams next fall has begun.
Teaching Music notified me they will publishing an article in the future dealing with selecting Middle School Band Literature. Attention to my presentation at PMEA All-State in April is picking up as colleagues are asking me for a sneak peek. Looking back where I was just three years ago to now is at times surreal – as Joe Pisano and I frequently discuss “The toughest thing about being successful is that you have to keep on being successful.”
I got to be a proud parent last night as my oldest daughter sang in her very first choral festival. 200 students on stage, great music, and delighted to have my parents, my wife’s parents, and all our children together for a wonderful night of music.
Finally, leaving class on this past Monday night at Kent on my way to conduct a concert at my school, Joe Pisano called. My conducting teacher – Lou Collela – passed away after a tough bout with cancer. I conducted that night with a heavy heart knowing that this was the first one of my mentors that passed away, and I realized that I did not completely like the idea of not being able to pick up the phone and call when I wanted to ask him a conducting question (and to break conducting down to just one thing according to Lou “It’s all about anticipation”). He held me to a high standard every day in class (just ask John Seybert at South Eastern Florida University about the time we were late). The one thing I never knew about him is that we shared the same birthday.
Thank you Lou for making me a better musician, educator and conductor. I will always remember “Great conductors love great music, and they share that love with their students.” God rest your soul Lou, and bless your family in the days ahead.