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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Some thoughts on making music

In just a few days, The Helios Ensemble will begin rehearsals for its sixth season. This is an amazing thing in and of itself, that is, that we have been able to stay around for this long and still find the meagre resources to make music together.

As I approach our sixth season, I am still disappointed that we don't have a strong enough board, and that the eternal task of fund raising takes up more of our time than rehearsing and performing wonderful music. But we stay with it, and with the help and generosity of the great people who have been there for us year after year, and with the superb musicianship and dedication of our wonderful singers, we will continue to be a force for good in the world.

Since returning from Oberlin, I have learned a few more valuable lessons. Did the experience of BPI change my life? Certainly. And perhaps it's a good thing that I only do one conference like BPI per year, lest my life be changed more often than my clothes!

It is however, a good thing to share your work with your colleagues, and it is even better to be surrounded by people who are better at it than you, and to be able to encourage those who are less experienced.

Anytime that I spend with Leif, who numbers amongst my dearest friends in the world, sharpens me both as a person and a musician.  He makes me understand the value of hard work and dedication to my craft. He points out, in a very kind and gentle way, the shortcomings that I might have in my approach to my art. He re-teaches me patience, and the value of consistent, hard work. To have spent two full weeks with him in a purely musical atmosphere was great medicine for me, and I have approached my work with a new resolve.

There are others too. Nancy Zylstra has been an inspiration to me not to take this gift for granted, and has taught me that to do anything less than maximize what I have been given through consistent and persisitent struggle for perfection is to waste something precious and irreplaceable: the gift of singing so generously given to me.

Thank you to all of you who have and continually do inspire me to keep on. Thank you to all of the singers in Helios who continue to show up, and to give well beyond what is required of you to make this venture work. Thank you to the great musicians that want to work with us in the future. And thanks be to God for such a gift as music.


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