Expressing the inexpressible…May 2017


~Aldous Huxley

So here’s the thing…I would really like to be able to teleport every person in my life into my performing arts center on Wednesday, May 24th to experience the Ridge High School Spring Choral Concert.  I write with no acknowledgment of ego.  Rather with a deep desire to share the love I am feeling and receiving from my singers as I stand before them every day in rehearsal.  They are singing with such depth and soul that I would love for everyone I know to be able to bear witness to what they will bring to their audience that evening.

My Chorale girls are singing Homeward Bound and River in Judea as part of their set.  My A Cappella Choir is singing Stars by Ēriks Ešenvalds, poetry by Sara Teasdale, accompanied by tuned Wine glasses.  My Voices of Ridge are singing the empowering We are the Voices by Jim Papoulis.  The Ridgemen are singing the Joseph Gregorio six-part Dona Nobis Pacem.  My GUYS NITE OUT group – grades 6-12, Dads, Grads, Grandads, Husbands and Friends, are singing Carry On My Wayward Son and Old Time Rock n’Roll.  My Concert Choir will surround the audience with Can You Feel the Love Tonight as their opener.  They will sing a breathtaking arrangement by Roger Ames (who may come to the concert!) called A Choral Reflection on Amazing Grace with one of my junior sopranos as soloist which may very well leave many speechless and in tears.  The concert will close with Kevin Memley’s Uniamo in Amore – Let us join in Love.

They are singing the life out of this music.

So, I write and reflect…why is this so intense, so different?  I’ve stood before stellar choirs in my career.  I’ve conducted on many levels, in many venues.  I’ve seen the work of my friends and colleagues who are great artists in their own right by bringing amazing music into the lives of their students.  What is it then?  Why do I feel differently this time around?

My conclusion comes with age and experience.  I am nearing the completion of the fourth decade of a career in Choral Conducting.  I have been genuinely blessed with dedicated students year after year who always work hard to reach and exceed my expectations.  When I see talent in a kid, I go after it with a vengeance.  I want them to have the indescribable experience of creating music that exceeds description and definition, where there are no words that they can string together to explain what they felt – what it meant to them to be completely immersed and surrounded by harmonies and melodies that were unified and shared with great love and passion. The true power that creating music brings to the performer and their audience.  The look on their faces when the final product has reached so deeply into their being.  The knowledge that their investment in learning every note and nuance has brought them to this place of other-worldliness…a place that will leave an indelible mark on them which will last a lifetime.


Singing together…

Harmonic Convergence…

Expressing the inexpressible…

Thanks for Reading…


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music

Bliss – May 4, 2017

BlissI haven’t written in a number of months.  But, I just created an end-of-year reflective that I will distribute to my Choir tomorrow and thought I would share it.  It comes from an idea I heard where Seniors are given the opportunity to invite a “special guest” to graduation – given an extra ticket to share with someone who has positively impacted their lives – and where they can invite that person to attend their graduation ceremony.

I like the idea of sharing gratitude and reflecting so my twist on the idea is to ask my Seniors to choose three influential people who were part of the “village” that raised them and describe each of them to me in 3-5 sentences.  After the concert on May 24th, they will then present 2 of the 3 names and reasons they were significant to the class.  (See attached).  I also suggested that they take time to hand-write a card to the three people and stamp it and mail it – the old fashioned way – so that the thoughts do not get lost in this assignment.

I am asking my underclass persons to reflect on the last 8-9 months.  Of what accomplishments are they most proud?  What frustrations did they experience?  What are their summer plans?

I am living in a euphoric teaching place right now where everyone is singing beautifully and kids are happy and the weather isn’t really crappy and I just want to stop the clock and stay here a while.  Trying to bask in the genuine moments of bliss I am experiencing in all of my classes.

I hope you are able to find bliss in your days as well.

Thanks for reading.


Reflective Assignment – 2017