This fall’s tour was a whirlwind few days of friends, collaborations, and satisfying musical experiences. One big takeaway: performing multiple times within an intensely-compressed time period is really effective in keeping one on one’s toes, performance-wise. There’s no time for nervousness and no time for mistakes. The program has to be clearly thought through, and all preparation has to be done in advance.
The weekend began on Thursday, 21 September. After teaching my 8am class and leaving the 10am class’s exam with a colleague to proctor, I headed toward Asheville, NC via the Sioux Falls, SD airport. It was a full day of travel but I managed to get a proposal written while enjoying the rocking chairs during a layover at the Charlotte airport. I arrived in Asheville and made it to my hosts’ house on the north side close to midnight.
Friday, 22 September was dedicated to activities at Mars Hill University. My hosts, Dr. Alan Theisen and Misty Theisen, are on faculty there. Misty and I rehearsed several works we had programmed on that evening’s recital. We discovered that we sound great together (hooray for a new flute sistah!) and the rehearsal with pianist Brad Curtioff went well. I taught a masterclass that afternoon, and our recital was that evening. The program included a couple of world premieres and some older favorites. Afterwards, I had a great time talking with some of the most polite students I have ever encountered. It was a fantastic day.
Saturday, 23 September was a little lighter. There was some time for relaxation, and I also drove up just past the Virginia state line for a rehearsal for Sunday evening’s recital. That was going to be another world premiere, and I collaborated with my dear friend, trombonist Dr. Art Haecker. Thai food in Asheville with the Theisens rounded out Saturday.
Sunday, 24 September was an intense day. I left the Theisens’ home early and headed to Brevard, NC. At Brevard College I met with my host, Dr. Eric Peterson, as well as with their sound person; I also ran through my program. I taught a masterclass early in the afternoon and then gave my recital. It was well attended, and I was happy to get a report of the outcome of the UGA football game by someone who came backstage afterwards. After the recital, I headed directly to Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA. I arrived there about an hour before the performance, so there was definitely some anxiety about the short window of time before this second recital. It went well, including the world premiere, and the audience was particularly engaged. This day felt like a huge accomplishment.
Monday, 25 September marked the end of my fall tour. I left my hosts (Drs. Art and Allyss Haecker) early and headed to East Tennessee State University, where Art is on faculty. There I gave a masterclass/performance for the flute and low brass studios and faculty. I performed two works for Glissando Headjoint and then Art and I gave another performance of our commissioned piece for Glissando Headjoint and trombone. I gave a talk about the Glissando Headjoint and Art and I discussed commissioning. There were some really great questions from the students there. After lunch, where Art and I discussed some future plans with his new publishing company (Polymnia Music), I headed back to the Asheville airport. I arrived back home by midnight. My Tuesday 8am class wasn’t going to teach itself!
These tours are always invigorating to me. I feel like I top up on creative energy and enjoy the stimulation of travel, friends, and collaboration. I’m able to take the works I’ve commissioned to a broader audience, and it’s fulfilling to see them enjoying these new works. I’m toying with the idea of a spring tour, even though logistics are more difficult during that semester. It’s something to keep in mind, at any rate.
On to the rest of the semester!