“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.”-Rocky Balboa
Well, it’s been a little while, but I’m back here blogging. As I look back on 2017, I see it as a year of change and challenge. Struggle defined last year. I made progress on things, but other issues presented themselves, and roadblocks moved in front of me. Things moved much more slowly than I thought they would. The challenge is to keep fighting. C’est la vie.
Two days before my graduate recital, I was singing at my grandfather’s funeral. He had been diagnosed with cancer about nine months earlier, so we’d had a little time to prepare, but it was still hard. I miss him dearly. Thankfully, my graduate choral conducting recital went fairly smoothly. I thank my professor, Kimberly Adams, for helping during that time.
I graduated with my second master’s in choral conducting and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society. My master’s at Western was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It feels good to be finished, and I’m thankful for the training I received.
After graduation, the WMU Chorale traveled to the Baltics for a competition. We swept our categories and won the overall prize. This was a wonderful group of hard-working musicians. I consider it an honor that I got to work with them.
In the fall, I began working with West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts‘ Jr./Sr. High Choir in Kalamazoo. It was a brand new group, and I did not know what to expect. The first day, 5 more signed up! They’ve impressed me with their desire to learn. We’re growing together and making some beautiful music. I’m very thankful for their efforts.
My children’s choir in Coldwater performed our annual Christmas concert recently. Branch county is an artistically under-served community, so it is not the most fertile soil for musical training. I’m thankful for the commitment of the families.
I sang a recital in November. It was the first recital that I’ve done just ‘cuz. It’s very liberating. You get to do the repertoire that you want to do. I even premiered a piece that I wrote for an ensemble of which I’m a part. This is Salvation Has Come to Us.
My plans for the spring are as follows:
- Starting work towards my martial arts training. I’ve been learning and teaching it for years, and I’m excited to begin working on certification. I will be hosting an introductory class this Saturday, Jan. 6 from 8:30-9:30 am. Y’all are invited!
- Publishing my young adult novel. Things have admittedly moved a little slower than I expected, but that’s what happens when it’s the first time you do something! This will get done!
- Publishing a short how-to book on singing. The content is already written. I just need to do some graphic design work.
- Hosting my own website away from WordPress. I plan on doing this ASAP. Look for it soon.
- Starting an additional job at Bronson Methodist Hospital. I’ve already begun it.
- Preparing for the future.
- Keep on keeping on. Life can hit pretty hard. You gotta hit back.
P.S. In the picture at the top is a sculpture of famous boxer Joe Louis’ fist. If you ever want to see it in person, it’s in downtown Detroit.