This is the first year since 1991 that I have not attended that bienniel conference. That's 22 years and 11 conventions, and I performed or presented at 4 of those 11. My reasons for not attending this year are financial (my younger daughter got married on the Big Island this year, and it all comes out of my own pocket now that I am unemployed) and not concerns about ambulation, just in case you wondered and I hope you did.
Anyway, I just got off the phone with my talented, gregarious wife, who made me feel really good about the number of my colleagues in Dallas who either asked about me or said nice things about me, including two of my absolute favorites, Ron Staheli and Simon Carrington (who enjoyed my latest book), neither of whom is a former student. Speaking of the latter, it's great to hear of the number of those who asked after me also, in addition to strangers who just know my name or my books or who heard CCC and USC perform from '91 to '05. I understand that some folks are going to invite me to do some clinical or conducting work in Korea and elsewhere now that I'm able to be up and about, in a manner of speaking. I have missed that; my last engagements were in December of '10 (Taiwan) and February of '11 (PA) both of which I enjoyed tremendously and all seemed pleased with me, too. I look forward to more. And I hear that someone may be interested in an interview and an article about me. Ah, jeez (shuffle, wince, avert eyes).
Someone once said that we only appreciate with absence. I have found that to be true: When folks are around, we take them for granted or worse; when they're gone we wish they were back. I feel that way this week, actually: I don't miss the performances at ACDA this year (I've done much of the music, including the Britten, and don't really care to hear much of a lot of the rest unless it's Bach) but I do miss seeing the people I know and meeting people I don't. I have had an immensely rewarding career, but barely better than some and not nearly as good as many. I don't have any illusions about my professional worth or my contributions to the profession. And I'm really shy among strangers. Really. Also nervous. Also insecure because I assume that most are better than I and I don't know how to blow my own horn; I don't even know the fingerings, truth be told.
But I still enjoy seeing folks I have known since my full-time collegiate career began back in 1970 (it was all church work and academic stuff before then, and many of those folks are now dead--I was a real whippersnapper). I was a star in grad school: Hirt and Vail had me start a new chorus and asked me to teach conducting; I was asked to conduct the Concert Choir when Vail went on sabbatical in '68, which included preparing a chorus for an orchestral concert conducted by Ingolf Dahl that included Webern's Das Augenlicht, but those days are long gone.
The only thing left is guest work and ACDA conventions (and, of course, the great meetings of NCCO, with which I had a little bit to do).
So I will do my utmost to not miss any more.
Deo gratias, say you. Cheers, say I.