A Song of Spirits (My 300th Post!)

Jan 25, 2014 | 4 comments


Back from CON!

I just returned from a con. (Okay I have to stop there already. I can't say, or in this case think “con” without chuckling… but I wanted to try it. I can't even play it off. I attended a music educator's convention/conference. Is that cool enough to be a “con”? Ha!)
Back to focus. I just returned from a music educator's conference, which explains my longer than usual absence from the blog world. For years it was an annual event for me, but after an absence of four years, I decided it was time to get back… time to be inspired and refreshed. And as always, this is exactly what happened.

Reading Session…

One of the activities or sessions that almost always happens at one of these conferences is called a “reading session”, where groups of music educators, choir directors, and college students get together to sing through various pieces of music. Often it's new music, but not always. It's a way for directors to hear the pieces in performance and get ideas for programming concerts. Often times it's just people who love to sing and look forward to making beautiful music with other fellow choir nerds.


So here I am sitting on the floor (on the floor because it was so packed) in a JWPepper reading session led by the wonderful Cheryl West. As an adult man who spends his days singing middle school soprano and alto all day (Yes. It's true.),  I don't often have the opportunity to sing with adults, and I forget what it's like to sing with my adult male voice with other adults. Singing next to a friend and colleague, I was really enjoying myself. Then Cheryl moved on to the next piece, a piece called Spirits, written by Douglas Beam (along with some additional text), with text by William Shakespeare. I was not taking notes, and so I wouldn't want to take the chance of getting details wrong in this post, but Cheryl told us of the touching and sad true story that inspired this piece to be written. The whole time I was thinking Wow! How long have I been waiting for a piece like this?! Most of my students know that I'm a card-carrying paranormal nerd, and I just knew they'd get a kick out of this song. Finally, a way for two of my biggest passions, if only for a few months during part of my day, to collide. I knew I was going to purchase it before I even heard it.
Some of the text from the piece:

By the moon we sport and play, with the night begins our day,
As we dance the dew doth fall, Gather little spirits all!

Lightly as the little bee, two by two and three by three, 
and about we go, and about go we!

They whisper so softly a sweet refrain. 
Their voices surround me. They speak my name!
I reach out to touch them, I stretch my hand. 
Their figures slip through me like grains of sand. 


See the video below for a recent performance of the piece.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmRu-YlNQCc?rel=0]


Now if you'll please allow me to be distracted by the passing chicken, this is also my 300th post! I simply cannot believe it, yet I can. It's a big deal, right? Many blogs don't get close to 300, and when I started out on February 5, of 2012, I never dreamed I'd get to that number. I can't lie and say that every post came organically or easy, and I know it's continuously growing and changing, but as I approach that two-year blogiversary in less than two weeks, I can promise you that I have loved every minute of the ride. The wonderful people I've met and the experience I've gained was not something I saw happening at the beginning of this journey. I thank you all!