On Floaters and Burrowers, Or Reflections on My Kalamazoo Ensemble Concert

I’ve been recently reflecting on an old TV episode I watched once. In the episode, one of the characters mentions that another character is a floater—he would float through life and things would just kinda work out for him. We’ve all met people like this. They always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Others naturally like them, want to do things for them, and give them things/opportunities. And since they are floaters, they probably don’t even know that they are. If you’re this person, count yourself blessed.

Then the TV character mentions the other kind of people—burrowers. These are the people whose faces are always buried in the mud and dirt of life. Any opportunities they get are the ones that they made happen through blood, sweat, and tears, and it’s usually half of the opportunities that the floaters get. Frankly, I’ve always felt like a burrower. I work hard on projects, always going two steps forward and getting pushed one step backward. On the plus side, I always feel like I’ve really accomplished something when the project is finished and I can reflect on a job well done. Wearing the dirt feels like a badge of honor. The dirt makes you feel like you’ve really accomplished something.

Which brings me to the ensemble concert last night. I remarked to one of my ensemble members how much easier this particular project has been to create than others I’ve done. Sure, there were struggles and the obligatory musician who drops out at the last minute (honestly, guys, we gotta start doing better about that), but overall it went pretty smoothly. The singers came with their notes learned. We got things done in the rehearsals, which were still fun. Everyone pulled their own weight. We created beautiful music.

So I want to thank everyone that helped with last night: the audience that came and enjoyed our hard work, our recording engineer who was willing to come and was easy to work with, the ensemble that worked hard and sang well, the good folks at Bethany Reformed Church who welcomed us with open arms, and those that supported us financially as we try to get this ensemble off the ground. You are all wonderful people. I’m so privileged to make music with all of you.

Here’s some video from the concert!

Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal (arr. Alice Parker)

 

Danny Boy (arr. Ryan Block)

Advertisements

The Program for My Kzoo Ensemble Concert on May 22!

Hey All, Thought I’d give you a head’s up on what to expect at our concert on May 22 (7:30 pm) @ Bethany Reformed Church. I had a very productive day with composer Ryan Block, and gained some cool insights into his arrangement of Danny Boy. I think you all will enjoy this beautiful song.

You’ll notice that there is a great variety to the repertoire. That’s because I like variety! It is the spice of life, after all. You will hear everything from medieval music to American and English folksong to jazz. I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy the arrangement of Blue Moon by Jonny Priano. Without further ado, here it is:

I

Gloria from Messe de Nostre Dame (Guillaume Machaut)

Lamentatio sanctae matris ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae (Guillaume Dufay)

Lobe den Herren (arr. Hugo Distler)

Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal (arr. Alice Parker)

II

My Bonny Lass, She Smileth (Thomas Morley)

My Sweetheart’s Like Venus (arr. Gustav Holst)

Danny Boy (arr. Ryan Block)

Blue Moon (arr. Jonny Priano)

On a completely unrelated note, I’m still trying to figure out a name for this ensemble. If you have any ideas, please PM or contact me here. I would greatly appreciate it!!!!

Here’s Me Reading an Excerpt from The Vampire Conspiracy

Hey All,

I thought I’d provide some more content from my debut novel, The Vampire Conspiracy. It’s now available in paperback, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how the cover turned out! If you’re interested in a contest for a free, signed copy, please sign up to my email list. You’ll get special info, content, and contests! For more info, check out my Fiction Tab.

Here’s a short excerpt from my book. In this scene John’s alcoholic father, Anthony, confronts his son about sneaking out and hunting monsters. John doesn’t take it well…

Brand New Choral Ensemble in Kzoo!

Hello Everyone,

I thought I’d take a break from promoting my young adult novel and talk about a new ensemble that I formed! We’ll be singing our inaugural concert at Bethany Reformed Church in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, May 22 (7:30 pm).

I guess I should give you some context. During my time at WMU, I met a bunch of wonderful, talented, and committed singers. It killed me that I could no longer consistently sing with them or at that high level of artistry.

The goals of this small ensemble are to unify the community through love of music, empower musicians young and old through education and presentation, enrich the artistic life of the community through creative collaborations performed at a high level, and enkindle a love of music through engaging performances in new places. I’m open to innovative ideas performed in interesting places!

Though we’ll sing music from a bunch of different eras, we’ll be specializing in early music, jazz, and contemporary music—these are strengths of the music scene in Kzoo, and I think we can add to it. We’ve got an amazing group of singers, including Bri Rigozzi, Melanie Walker, Laura Healy, Libbie Hayden, Max Wagner, Ryan Block, and myself. We’ll be singing music from the Middle Ages (Machaut) all the way to a brand-new arrangement of Danny Boy composed by local jazz pianist and singer Ryan Block!

Since this is a new venture, we really need your support! We’ll be asking a suggested donation of $10/person for the concert. If you want more choral awesomeness in Kzoo and the west Michigan area, you are free to give more! Please support your local artists. Regardless of what you can give, we want you to come and enjoy it! 

The Vampire Conspiracy Is Finally out!

Perhaps some of you thought this day would never come. Understandable. There were times when I did too! Thanks to everyone who helped me on this four-year journey. I couldn’t have done it without your help and support! This has been a wonderful growing experience. I’ve learned so much about the writing process and about myself. It was a blast. Thanks, and enjoy!

Available for $2.99 on Amazon and Kobo!

This book is Supernatural meets Grimm. Lots of action, family, and drama!

For those of you who don’t know about my Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel, you can also find info on my Fiction page. Sign up to my email list for special offers, including a chance for a free signed paperback copy!

One Week Till My Book Is Published!

Hey all,

Exciting news! Formatting is proceeding apace, and I will be publishing my book soon! I plan on publishing it next week! Thank you for bearing with me. Self-publishing contains a lot of minutiae that you don’t think about until you actually try to do it. Then, you gotta test everything to make sure it works and looks clean.

Again, I want to thank everyone who’s helped me get to this point. My beta readers rock! They gave me so much excellent feedback. They weren’t afraid to pull their punches. My book designers worked so hard and brilliantly. And my formatters have been forthright and efficient.

If you sign up for my email list, you will have a chance to enter into a contest for a free, signed copy of my book!

Q&A Time for My Book, The Vampire Conspiracy!

Since my publishing date is coming up fast, I thought it’d be good to do some Q&A about my book. You folks have questions, and hopefully I have answers! As always, you can join my email list for special access, contests, and offers. Without further ado, here we go!

Question 1: When will the book finally be out?

I’m finishing up the formatting as we speak. It should be out soon, and I will let you know on this very blog when the date is approaching.

Question 2: Is this one of those stupid books where the girls don’t do anything cool? (Thanks, mom) 😛

Question 3: Is this one of those stupid books where the girl beats up all the boys? (Thanks, dad) 😛 

I try to make the martial arts as realistic as a book with vampires and super-powered hunters can be. Physics, genetics, and biology are pretty unforgiving and all must be taken into account when actually fighting. Take from that what you will.

Question 4: Is this just another boring action book or is there actual character development?

I’ve always been drawn to the kinds of books where characters are either getting better or getting worse. A character that is not profoundly changed by the end of a novel is kinda boring. C.S. Lewis mastered the art of character development. His characters never stayed the same by the end of the novel. That is not to say that my book is Lewisian by any means. It’s a fun read with enjoyable characters.

Question 5: Why is John targeted by the vampire in the first chapter?

Suffice it to say, John is special, and the vampire senses it. That’s all I’ll leave with you for right now…

Question 6: Why did you start writing?

I’ve been making up stories in my head ever since I can remember. I’d run around the backyard swinging lightsabers at imaginary bad guys and all that kind of stuff. Two things held me back. 1) I never thought that I could. 2) I never thought I had the time. The opportunity to try my hand at it finally appeared a few years ago. Reduced hours at work meant that I could try something else. I started a children’s choir in Coldwater and bought a book on writing children’s fiction. I started writing, and the rest is history.

Well, that’s it. Thanks for taking the time to read this! I hope you enjoy the book!