While I can’t profess to know a lot about farming, I do know that there is a large chunk of time when the farmer must wait between when the crop is planted and when it is ready to harvest. There will be regular tasks to perform to make sure the crop is nourished and produces the best yield possible, but for a large chunk of time, the farmer must simply be patient and trust. It can be hard to wait, but digging up a seed, potato or carrot to check on its progress not only won’t help it progress any faster, it will probably kill the progress! For me, this summer is a time for sowing seeds and waiting patiently for the growth that will come.
Summer has often been the time when I plan out the fall season of music for church. Planning has been one of the most stressful tasks of my church work. Trying to find the right balance of old and new music, both easy and challenging for an ever evolving group of singers that also fits with the readings of each Sunday is a challenging process. With plans this year to start a graded children’s choir program at Holy Redeemer, I have a new wrinkle to consider, so may not be able to plan as thoroughly as I would have in the past. I suppose I am a farmer trying out a new crop this fall: hoping for excellent results, but uncertain if the conditions will produce the best outcome.
Summer is also the time when many musicians organize their concert season for the next year. While everything is not settled yet, I am looking forward to several fabulous concert opportunities and compositional premieres in the next few months.
Everyone copes with stress differently. I need a certain amount in order to keep me fully engaged, otherwise it’s very easy to slack off when the deadlines seem so far away. The unofficial motto of my high school was “If it’s not due today, it’s not due.” While I might not have been the most strict follower of that motto, I continue to struggle under it’s influence. This is my public reminder to myself to continue practicing my improvisations, learning repertoire and working on the pieces I already know I need to compose for this fall. It’s the patient part of farming that I find most difficult and seems to be most challenging to our instant gratification society.
I’ve been running in maintenance mode for the past couple of months, but managed to pick up a partner. My wife Karen has adopted the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude and ran her first 5K on July 4. It was a slow run for me, but I’m very proud of her. It was only a year ago that I became confident that I would be able to run a half-marathon, and now I’m signed up for the Dopey challenge at Disney! Before the race, she said she didn’t want to do anything longer than 5K, but afterwards she was asking when we could do a 10K, so maybe with a little encouragement, she might actually do a marathon one day! Today is her birthday, so be sure and congratulate her on the run and wish her a happy birthday. (if you don’t have contact info for her, you can use the form on her website here.) Help me plant and nourish the running seed that she has planted!
Wishing you a summer full of nourishment!
Newsletter Issue 25 – 2014 07 11
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