About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

UUMN Conference, Travel Day

This was a long day! I left Atlanta at 6 a.m. and arrived in Dallas 13.5 hours later for this year's UUMN conference. As some of my friends can tell you, I get lost easily, so I accidentally added some bonus miles and added about 15 minutes to my trip. The drive from Atlanta to Dallas was long, but it was quite easy. All you really have to do is  get on I-20 and drive west for 800 miles. The roads in Dallas were confusing, however, and after congratulating myself for making it to Dallas like a pro, I missed my exit and got turned around. I used the maps app on my phone to figure out where I was and plot a new course. Without that app, I might still be driving around.

After I got settled into my room, I went downstairs to grab a bite. I heard a familiar laugh and didn't even have to look to know that it was my old friend, Sarah Dan! It was nice to see a familiar face. We talked a little while, and she introduced me to a few people before we parted. We'll see plenty of each other this week.

I returned to my room and met my roommate, Bert, who had come in while I was out. Bert seems like a nice guy. He's a music director at a Seattle church. We chatted for a while, and then he left to meet an pianist with whom he'll be performing later in the week. Bert is a classical singer who enjoys listening to jazz. I'm a jazz singer who enjoys listening to classical. So there you go.

After Bert left, I went upstairs to check out the fitness room. It has about half a dozen heavy duty treadmills, a few weight machines, a large rack of dumbbells, yoga mats, and lots of space. Some hotels have a so called fitness room that looks more like a large closet with a few rickey machines crammed into it. Not so with this hotel. It's a very nice room with good equipment.

I'll try to get a good night's sleep tonight. Tomorrow it begins! I've mentioned this before, but I've been looking forward to this conference. It'll be an exciting opportunity for me to grow as a musician and as a church professional. I also look at this conference as an important responsibility. Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation will be reimbursing me for all my expenses this week, and they also paid my conference fees. While this is an important week for me personally, I also realize that NWUUC is investing in me and expects me to return with an even deeper sense of purpose and professionalism.

Here's what I hope to come away with this week:

  • Ideas for starting and maintaining a children's music program, and as much information as I can absorb about working with children's voices.
  • Being exposed to lots of choral repertoire and deciding what new pieces to order for my adult choir.
  • Lots and lots of ideas for running a music program. I may be able to implement some of these ideas right away, and I may have to put some others in my back pocket for the future.
  • Networking! I'd like to get to know other church music professionals. I already met someone who works with UUMN publications, which could lead to music engraving work.
At the same time I'm doing this, I'd like to keep up some guitar practice. I won't have time to practice as much as usual, so I'll focus on scales, arpeggios, and memorizing songs. I would also like to maintain my weight this week and find a good BBQ place while I'm here in Texas. Those two goals aren't mutually exclusive, as long as I make use of that great fitness room and don't order a Fred Flintstone sized platter!

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