My blog "eyes" are bigger than my writing "stomach." I always want to write more than I seem to be able to summon myself to do. This summer was a very busy, transitional one. At the end of July I packed up everything in Los Angeles and sent it off to Kentucky while I went to Asia for three weeks.
In 2005, I moved to LA ready to start my doctorate at the University of Southern California (USC) after living in central Indiana for nine years. At the time, Indianapolis was my idea of a "big" city, and I didn't really know anyone in SoCal or what the area would be like. In fact, in trying to find a place to live I was so scared to drive up a steep hill in Silver Lake I immediately backed my car out on Sunset and left - the bars on the first floor windows everywhere were intimidating - the large numbers of people living on the streets surrounded by huge quantities of trash was disturbing.
Over nine years, I made LA my home. USC offered amazing colleagues and amazing connections with the city. I found hikers and runners to help me tackle hills and then mountains. I was blown away to have the opportunity to work at Los Angeles Opera and support productions showcasing talented people I had admired for years from afar.
And now again, it has been time for life to move on - for my fortunes to move me back East. Now I live in Lexington, KY, and I am back in the academic arena working at Transylvania University, a small liberal arts school with a passion for interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary teaching and strong teacher-student relationships. I reflect a lot now on my own undergraduate experience at Butler University and my first "real" teaching job at Earlham College.
The Asia experience helped "dis-orient" me from LA enough to make the move to KY less of a shock, but I know I do not yet understand what it will be to become a part of this area. My week in Beijing was my first visit to mainland China, and my two weeks in Korea was my first time in my mother's country since the USC Chamber Choir tour in 2006.
When I first arrived in Beijing we had a judges meeting for the China International Choir Festival competition. As people introduced themselves, I realized I was among some very influential conductors, composers, and other performers from around the world, and I had to ask myself "how do I fit in?" Fortunately everyone was tremendously encouraging. I learned as much as I could while I taught as much as I could with my presentations:
- Contemporary Choral Music from the United States
- The Use of Gesture in Rehearsal
- Score Study as Means for Interpretation and Memorization for Performance ("It's in the music")
- Beautiful Bodies, Beautiful Music: enhancing music making through body awareness and practical applications
I plan to share more about these in the research section of the site, but for now, let me clear my head and prepare my heart for my debut performance at my new school.