Thursday, December 20, 2007

Back to, back to blogging

Welcome back...yes, the blog hasn't died altogether. Of course I'm mortified that I've not made a new blog post since July, but I'm not alone among people who start a blog site only to learn they've created something of a monster that constantly lurks in your mental list of things needing attention. The blog wants time pretty much all of the time, and keeping a blog current is no small feat. But it's also somewhat addictive and I truly have been longing to get back to it.

Since my last blog entry, I've been spending time hiring Spivey Hall staff and am delighted that we've welcomed two senior managers here in production and marketing...with one more hire to go before we're back at full strength (a new staff portrait soon to come -- watch this space). I and my co-workers took on the extra work created by the vacancies, and my "To Do" list grew steadily while we interviewed candidates and identified our new colleagues. Then the concert season started up in October -- always a welcome moment in my life, but then we also returned to working most weekends, and time seems to become even more scarce.

Most importantly, however, I did some traveling and lots of listening over the summer and into the fall, and have now completed booking of Spivey Hall's 2008/09 main series -- quite a bit earlier than in prior years. We plan to announce the new season in February or March. In reality, the artistic planning cycle never completely ends; already I'm making commitments and invitations to artists for 2009/10.

Musically we've had a very rewarding autumn, and some good results at the box office, too, with sell-outs of The Romeros, The King's Singers, Emanuel Ax, and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan. And the Spivey Hall Children's Choir holiday concerts under the direction of Dr. Martha Shaw, and the Young Artists led by Craig Hurley, were again beautifully sung and joyously received (in addition to being sell-outs, too). Their artistic achievements are extraordinary and we are immensely proud of them of all.

For those of you who hear American Public Media's Performance Today, broadcast nationwide on public radio stations, the Christmas Day edition of the show will include the Children's Choir's a cappella performance of "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" by Elizabeth Poston, and The King's Singers in "Resonet in laudibus" by Orlando di Lassus, plus a medley of Catalonian Christmas songs ("La Pastoreta" - "Maria Rosa" - "La Caterineta") arranged by Goff Richards. Tune in, and your ears and spirit will be rewarded.

Another reason (of "the-dog-ate-my-homework" variety) for not blogging recently: comments made to me about the focus and content of my blog. Although many people have urged me to make my blog entries shorter (helpful advice, since it might be easier to read, and also make frequent blogging easier), two people whose opinions I respect said that the blog shouldn't be solely about the artists and programs we're presenting at Spivey Hall -- instead, it should be more about what I'm thinking/hearing/feeling/reading on musical topics of various sorts. Which made me stop and think quite a bit. And then of course, the more I thought, the longer my prospective blog entries became in my head.

Should more people care to voice opinions about the focus of content, I'll be very curious and grateful to read them. One of my New Year's resolutions is to visit my blog daily, just as I do several other websites, and chime in with shorter entries more frequently -- regardless of what the content focus might be. I'll embrace this resolution starting January 7, when I'm back from a break.

Closing comment: I trust many of you reading this will understand the somewhat arcane "Back to Bolivia" reference in the post title. If not, visit a library and check out the spines of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. One of things I love to do over the holidays is randomly select a volume of this extraordinary reference work and read at leisure. It reminds me of how vast the world of music is, and how much there is to discover.

Joyous and peaceful holidays to all!