Oh my goodness, how life throws us curves. My life has changed since my last blog entry. Long story short, Mom and Dad are both living in a senior living facility in Roanoke now. Mom is in hospice. I spent most of October, most of November, most of January there with them. I lost my daily walking habit. I gained about 10 pounds. I took possession of a bunch of worldly goods from their house which are now cluttering up my livingroom and basement until I can decide where to put them. More details on this part of my life here: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/maryboenke
In other news, I learned that a piece I wrote will be premiered at the National Flute Association’s annual convention in August this year. It is for flute alone, entitled “2020: The Year We Could Not Breathe”. I wrote it in 2021, thinking about all the ways that “we” could not “breathe” in 2020: George Floyd’s last words, the pandemic putting the entire world on masks and respirators, and the wildfires consuming the entire western United States and filling our homes with smoke. I thought it would be interesting to write a piece about not breathing for an instrument that is all about breathing. It is unlike anything else I have written. It is quite “modern”, employing some extended techniques, some improvisation for the performer, even the optional use of an electronic loop.
At my wife’s suggestion, I wanted a flutist of color to premier this piece, so I started peddling it around. It ended up in the hands of a young man in New York named Anthony Trionfo (https://trionfoflute.com/), who proposed it to the NFA for the convention. A big surprise to me when an email came from the convention program director to me and Anthony saying it was accepted! So, of course I am going to convention this year! Woohoo!! I have really missed it. This year it is in Phoenix. Actually, when someone asks “where is convention this year?”, I’ve started answering “inside”. August anywhere is hot and miserable, but convention is always inside a large air-conditioned hotel conference center somewhere. (You have to be a flutist to love being in a big hotel with 3000 other flutists, and, oh yes, plenty of piccolos as well.)
In still other news, on Feb. 4, I had the fun of collecting a handful of musicians in a basement recording studio to record a song I wrote about 30 years ago which my Mom especially loves. It is called “Prayer” and is about facing death. Especially pertinent now. We got it done in one afternoon. I was able to email the mp3 to my sister who was still in Roanoke at the time, and she was able to play it for Mom on her phone. A happy moment on a sad subject.
I’m trying to get my walking habit ramped up again, although I missed yesterday. Today they’re predicting snow so we’ll see what happens with that. The scale was down a pound this morning. Tonight I sub in a rehearsal for the Sunnyside Symphony, and go back into quarantine at home for a week. I’ve got Newport Symphony coming up in March. I’ll be playing with the Tilikum Chamber Orchestra through April for a May concert. I’ll be in and out of home quarantine for several months. Bernadette is putting up with me (and that’s a really good thing). I’m considering returning to Roanoke to help with more house-clearing in May/June. I guess life goes on.