Wins & Losses (May 14-21)

Wins

  • Our little girl turned 3 months old this past week. We are in complete awe as we watch her develop week by week. She is orally communicating with us a lot more now. We can tell when she is mimicking sounds we make or just carrying on a conversation the best she can manage. It’s so much fun being her dad.
  • FACS graduation was held on Saturday morning. I was quite the busy one as I had to play the organ for processional and recessional. I also played the piano while diplomas were presented. The ceremony went on without a hitch. It was a pleasure to present the Thespian of the Year Award to MW, one of my very talented theatre students this year. I am certainly going to miss several of these students as they press forward in their next steps.
  • We had a “birthing class reunion” with some friends on Saturday night at Pyro’s. We all got to catch up and see each others’ babies, which was quite the treat. We dubbed ourselves the Presidential Class because every child born out of the class bears the name of a president. Totally unplanned coincidence.
  • Now that my ducks are in a row, I can make public the new music teaching position I have accepted at Southaven High School.  This position involves teaching class piano, general music, and accompanying all the Southaven choirs. My time at FACS has been wonderful, but I have learned that teaching theatre is not my forte. I love the art and everything about it, but this ol’ boy doesn’t have what it takes to show somebody else how to do it. It will be nice to get back into music. This new position puts Becca and I in the same school district. GO CHARGERS!

Losses

  • With regards to graduation, it was very tough bidding farewell to several seniors. I didn’t watch these students grow up, but I did get to know them this year and had a ball with them. This small group of 7 seniors out of 85 will never know how much they meant to me this year. We had such a blast in my classes and in rehearsals. If you’re reading this, know that I am extremely proud of you. Thank you for making my year at FACS a memorable one.

Sunday Song 5.21.17

Today’s Sunday song takes me back to the good old days of Music Theory II. We were studying part-writing, and Dr. Dennis used various hymns to illustrate the proper way to do it. Our favorite hymn was “This is My Father’s World.” We would sing through it on our respective parts and analyze how each part was written. We loved singing this hymn because of it’s beautiful melody and poetic text. Enjoy!

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:track:67X4EGcjhXC9ggM4YbeSrW

Wins & Losses (May 7-13)

Wins

  • The major hills to climb were climbed this past week. Becca completed all of her concerts, recitals, and banquet to wrap up a most successful first year of teaching. Although she still has 1.5 weeks left, it should prove to be an easy-going remainder of time.
  • Wednesday was a proud teacher moment. Two of my students spoke in senior chapel and did an exceptional job. MW spoke on her experience making big plans, and how the Lord totally transformed those plans into something she never expected. TS gave a testimony of his character transformation that came with transferring to FACS. I was so proud of each of these students and will miss a whole bunch of these seniors when they graduate on Saturday.
  • Thursday night found me once again at the piano in the rehearsal hall of Theatre Memphis. I had really missed playing for these people, and was quite excited at the opportunity to play again. They are preparing a production of South Pacific, and I was relieved to hear it since I have played that show before. While there, I made a contact from the Orpheum Theatre, and I’m that it will prove to be a noteworthy contact!
  • I took the day off on Friday to hang out with my sister and Reagan. Our usual sitter was graduating from college, so this seemed like a good excuse to take the day off. And am I glad I did! My sister and I really enjoyed our time with Reagan, and the day went by so smoothly.
  • I spent Saturday morning at Grace Chapel Primitive Baptist Church at their annual Sacred Harp Singing. I unfortunately didn’t get to stay for the whole event, but it was a treat to pull out my Sacred Harp hymnal and sing out of it again.

Losses

  • Despite overcoming a bunch of hurdles this week, we were hardly home. Both Becca and I had somewhere to be during the day and evening every day last week. What makes it better was that none of the events were avoidable. We actually HAD to be there. We were both exhausted by the time Saturday came around, and took it VERY EASY around the house on Saturday. We are looking forward to every evening (except one) at home this week.

Wins & Losses (April 30-May 6)

Wins

  • The downhill stretch has finally come upon us. As of the time of this writing, we are 2 weeks, and 4 days out from the end of the 2016-2017 school year. Things at FACS are beginning to wrap up. We have senior exams May 15-18, Awards Day on May 17th (in which I get to present two awards), graduation on May 20 (where I get to play the ORGAN!), and regular final exams the following week. In just a few short weeks, we will be over the rainbow. Praise.
  • Due to most of the 8th grade class taking a trip to Washington D.C. last week, I only had about a quarter of the number of 8th graders in class that I normally have. We took things pretty easy for the week. However, they are under pressure now to finish up and polish their final projects that are due the week of exams. I have a feeling that today will be a major wake-up call for them.
  • It’s always a joy to catch up with my college friend, Trevor. He’s been traveling to Southaven on Monday nights for NOBTS classes, and occasionally stops in Memphis on his way back so he and I can catch up on life. Trevor is one of my best (and funniest) friends and I’ve really enjoyed the times we’ve gotten to get together this semester.
  • Saturday was a wonderful day for Becca, Reagan, and me. It’s the first time we’ve had a Saturday to ourselves in weeks and we were going to enjoy it. We spent our fair share of time being lazy and productive all in the same day. It gave us a glimpse of what summer days may be like when we are home together for several days at a time.

Losses

  • I spent the majority of the week at school tracking down scripts from Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! For those that have directed an Music Theatre International (MTI) show before, you know that MTI doesn’t play around when it comes to returning items. If you return a box with one page less than what was received three months earlier, be prepared to fork out most of your budget in penalties. I was constantly talking with cast members trying to find the last two scripts. Nevertheless, by Thursday, I had found all the pieces and shipped the box out the next day. And to my surprise, all my hair is still brown.

Sunday Song 5.7.17

One of the highlights of my college years were the Wednesday nights I spent at Englewood Baptist Church with the college students. Our service, Refuge, was a great time of spiritual growth for me. For about a year, I played the piano with the worship team and absolutely loved it. I learned some great songs while there. One of those is a song that reminds me Psalm 23. Today, we will read responsively from Psalm 23 before singing “Never Once.” Happy Sunday!

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:track:0xQk15jqsG5DtsB3vQOvVE

Bucket List Item #2: Direct a musical

Since I participated in my first real musical in 2009, I have been hooked on them. Sure, I listened to many soundtracks before I was cast in Starmites. I had original cast recordings of Phantom, Wicked, Cats, The Sound of Music, and many more. But once someone actually acts in a musical, it changes the dynamic…usually, for the better.

When I accepted the job at FACS, it was understood that I would direct a spring musical. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what musical I would select. However, by September, I had decided on Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! I selected this musical because of my fairly recent association with it and the small cast. Little did I know the depth of the pool in which I was about to jump.

It was hard. In fact, it was very hard. I had never done something like this before. Directing a one-act play in the fall was a task, but not nearly as daunting. Creating the rehearsal schedule, making sure we were abiding by all the rules set forth by MTI, determining who was going to do what, taking headshots and combining them with cast bios, getting the program designed, printed, & delivered, casting, securing props and costumes, etc. It just went on and on and on.

And let’s not forget that my wife had a baby in the midst of all this.

By the time show week came around, I was at the “Stick a fork in me, I’m done!” moment. I was tired as heck and ready to be through with this show. However, after the incredible three-show run over a weekend, I was so very happy with what came of it. The kids pulled it together and entertained some very happy theatre patrons. I got to jam with two other great musicians and a music director who was more patient with me than anyone else.

So there we are. I can cross it off my bucket list. Several have asked what I learned from this experience. I actually learned a lot of things. I learned some things that I will do in the future, I learned some things that I will never do again, and I learned what should bother me and what shouldn’t. But above all of that, I learned that the harder you work for something, the sweeter it is when you reap its benefits. I certainly felt that on Saturday afternoon when the final curtain call took place.

Wins & Losses (April 23-29)

Wins

  • Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! ended with a bang on Saturday afternoon. The long days, countless emails, many receipts, and constant running around all came together for an excellent three-day run of the show. I am so proud of the kids and what they accomplished. It was especially nice to have my 5th grade social studies teacher, Debbie Plunk, in the audience on Friday night. That meant so much to me. It will certainly be nice to go home at 3:15 every day from now until the end of the year. To celebrate the end of the show, Becca and I attended the Memphis Symphony’s final pops concert of their 2016-2017 season featuring an evening of John Williams music!
  • Becca and I are so blessed to have the families that we have. When Becca went back to work on Thursday morning (many tears), our families sprang into action to cover babysitting. Well, it’s not like we had to twist their arms or anything…but we are grateful nonetheless! Melanie/Miminanaebu took a shift on Thursday, my parents/Papa G & Gigi covered Friday, and Aunt Nat & Grandmair took the evening shift on Friday night. This also gave Becca a chance to come see my show on Friday night.
  • On Monday night while watching Dancing with the Stars, Reagan and I were having some daddy-daughter time when all of a sudden, her first giggle popped out of her! I could hardly contain myself (as some of you might have seen in the video), and we have watched it over and over and over and over…

Losses

  • One of the most frustrating things as a professional artist/musician/whatever-I-am is when others who aren’t in my profession seem to think they have the solutions to all my problems. They feel it is necessary to impress upon me (rudely) why their solutions are so much better than whatever it is I have used to survive. When the dust settles, I can usually laugh it off. Initially, though…many words.

Sunday Song 4.30.17

Here we are on the last day of April…

and all God’s people said, “Amen!”

“Nothing but the Blood” is a hymn that has been sung in churches and campmeetings since the 19th century. It was written in a call-and-response form, so that it could be easily learned by the commoners in church houses across the United States. A truth is spoken, and the response is “Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”  A full history of the hymn can be found by clicking here. And now, enjoy a wonderful rendition of it by one of my favorite country singers, Randy Travis.

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:track:4tLGpXPqBLWdM4U41Rr9Wp