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i’ve a black dress and a g.p.s.

Greetings from Charlotte, North Carolina where I will be attending a music theory nerd conference for the first time as a professor person and meeting up with Miller Asbill and his students at Brevard College. I am quite excited to meet Miller since we've been talking about a future project for, oh, I dunno, about a year now and I'm thrilled that this project is finally going to happen.

Since this week I'm on the road (or on a plane), I was going to share with you some YouTube videos about driving the Interstate except that I attended a fantastic recital at Memorial Hall featuring Kelley O’Connor, Jessica Rivera, and Robert Spano this past weekend as part of the Constella Festival in Cincinnati.

I was lucky enough to be sitting next to my laptop when I was asked to turn pages for the recital, and yes, I probably should have been grading orchestration projects instead, but I kind of wanted to peruse new song cycles first-hand and listen to these women sing. Let me tell you—it was awe-inspiring.

And by “awe-inspiring,” I realized I needed to Up My Game.

Do you ever have moments when you're sitting next to someone and think, “Dang, I should be practicing piano daily if I want to play like that.” And you can't use the “I'm ridiculously busy” excuse because the guy next to you is also a conductor of a major orchestra and composes in his spare time. And then you ponder how you can do all that and actually function in life, therefore wondering if adding nicotine to your Beethovenian ritual of counting coffee beans will do the trick.

OR, do you ever think, "Why on earth did I stop taking voice lessons? I could be singing such cool rep in a fancy dress and have a grand time." And then you remember the time when you did take voice lessons and your teacher made you speak like Mickey Mouse to raise your soft palate or something like that, and how embarrassing it was when your teacher turned to your composer-accompanist friend and said, "Why Andy, that's an interesting shade of red you have there." And immediately your friend bolts out of the studio to tell the rest of your composer friends The Embarrassing Thing that just happened.

OR, have you ever listened to this mezzo-soprano and piano opera by David Bruce entitled That Time with You? And you yearn to hear the music and poetic imagery again so much that you're willing to find a bootleg score and recording because maybe—just maybe—you might be able to write a song cycle in ten years as captivating and meaningful as this one?

I'm going to go attend a theory conference now…

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