In a year of unforeseen circumstances and events, the one that stands out is this: I did not anticipate my 25th season as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Kingwood Chorale to be a year when I did NOT conduct the KCCO. In the spring of 2020-the end of my 24th season with KCCO- I was blessed to receive a sabbatical from the college and had made extensive plans to go to Berlin, Dresden, and Leipzig, Germany with my old friend Gottfried Schiller as my personal tour guide of all the amazing musical sites there. That was to have been followed by a rendezvous with Lori (my wife) in Rome, then spending three amazing weeks in Italy with Assisi as our home base. We were going to tour Montecatini Terme, where I had been invited to bring a choir to a music festival there. Summer, 2021 was going to be the Chorale’s third trip abroad, and I just knew it was all going to be amazing!
And then it wasn’t. Two years’ worth of planning and grant writing went down the drain. I was at the ACDA regional conference in Little Rock the first week in March 2020, when murmurs of pending shutdowns were approaching. Lori and I hurried home to soon find the world changed forever. No sabbatical trip. No singing. No choirs. No music. No…no…no….As the world ground to a halt and our retirement accounts sank, the illness and death counts rose. Like all of you, I was struggling with what to make of it, how to react, and what to do.
It is now one year later, and there are many days I still do not know what to do. But what I have determined to do is to live in the present and not worry too much about the past which I cannot change or the future which is mostly beyond my control. What I can control is my determination to get through this day by day and to see the Kingwood Chorale again sing for our community, ourselves, and for the love of music itself. One thing I can say for certain: I miss you all very much! I miss the Monday night rehearsals, both the social and the musical aspect. I miss the concert planning and the refining process of these great choral masterworks.
In the last few months, we have seen shoots of progress on the pandemic and “the light of a clear blue morning” ahead of us. I am not sure when that morning will come, but it is closer that it has been in a long while. And that is wonderful news. We WILL sing again. We WILL travel again. And we WILL be together again.
I pray that all who read this find words of encouragement and comfort in my story even as you recall your own ups and downs of the last year. You are very much loved. I hope to make music with you very, very soon.
In Art’s Way,