My College Band in Europe

We just got back from a trip to Europe. Played concerts in in Innsbruck, Laupheim, Hamburg, Muenter, Essen, Dresden, Berlin and closed at, of all places, Martin Luther’s Church in Wittenberg. The students were totally cool with each other, with the challenges of the trip, and especially with the music. The Germans and Austrians were extremely hospitable, friendly and helpful. I am a lucky man to know such people.

Here we are in the magnificent Dresdner Kreuzkirche.


We provided music for a mass in “The Most Beautiful Village Church in the World” in Steinhausen, Father Paul was enthusiatic about our singing the mass parts in Latin.  We also performed arrangelments for winds of the Randall Thompson Alleluia, the Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium and the Schubert Ave Maria. I chanted the psalm in German and and intoned the chanted Alleluia.

The centerpiece of the Church is the pieta on the altar. The whole church is bulit around it.



Beauty: I’s The Beholder!

I just taught a music unit for a class in the college’s general education core, Artistic Expression. In six short sessions we made a dash through each of the eras of music history, with a quick listen to a few musical examples, especially emphasizing how form works in unifying a musical work. This dash provided us the material to talk a good deal about aesthetics, the study of beauty, or better said, the enjoyment of beauty. So, it made sense to put a short essay on the unit test asking the students to take one of two positions:

Beauty is only in the eye of the beholder or


Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder.

Read the whole thing …

Truth and Beauty

I have been hard at work, more or less. There is a beautiful piece we are practicing called Magnum Mysterium, a choral piece by Lauridsen, arranged for band by Robert Reynolds. We have played it twice and the sound of it is carved into my brain. It is so beautiful. Everyone in the room knows it is. There is no disagreement here! I have to believe there is something objectively beautiful about such works, that they speak to an inner organ residing inside every human, in some dormant and in others awake and alive. The response to such beauty transcends the purely learned, the culturally formed, and begins to touch the universal, that which was, is, and always shall be–that which, by all rights ought to be.

The inner antenna for beauty knows by nature how to respond to the truly beautiful, if only the ear or the eye is properly formed. Recognition of and love of the truly beautiful may not belong in the category of things we can’t not know*, but they could be things we can’t keep from learning, if we are given half a chance.

Truth and Beauty, 2 sides of a coin.

*Sorry about that triple negative. It is necessary, the thought doesn’t arrive without it.

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