Category Archives: Choral

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day!
The Annual Spring Training Trip Is Off to an Auspicious Beginning!

OK, let’s talk some spring training baseball!

So, in January I order my tickets getting almost exactly the seats that I want. Since I always go to the Saint Pat’s Day game, this year I splurge and order a kelly green Phillies cap from the official Phillies team store. I made my reservations at one of my favorite hotels very close to the stadium. All was right in the world.

The day (today) dawned with a torrential downpour in Valodsta. The weather app said 90% chance of rain in Clearwater – but I’ve got my green baseball cap that I can only wear to ONE game — today! Surely the skies will clear by the time I drive the four hours to Clearwater …

I say my homefront goodbyes, fill the Soul up with gas, drop Moxie off at the kennel, and hit the drive-through for a large Mickey D’s coffee. It’s 8:20 AM, the game starts at 1:05 PM and I’m trying to generate reverse rain dances in my head!

OMG, but did it rain — ALL THE WAY!

So, I finally make it to the thin strip of highway called the causeway that takes me across the bay to Clearwater. All around me – empty beaches, empty outdoor restaurants, no joggers, no bikers – just very slow drivers giving me plenty of time to think about what to do this afternoon, because there will obviously be NO baseball!

Leaving the causeway and entering the eastern edge of Clearwater, I decide to go ahead to Bright House Field thinking, beyond hope, that the Phillies may have lost their minds and still intend to play the game.

At times like this, my thoughts turn to lots of wishful positives: my seat is under the overhang and the rain probably won’t get to me; the players get paid a lot of money and what’s a little water to them; and most of all – I really want an authentic Philly Cheese Steak for lunch!

As I approach the field on Old Coachman Road, I see several things that fill my heart with joy. There are people in green Phillies garb walking, in the rain, towards the stadium. Speaking of the stadium, I look from afar and, lo and behold, the stadium lights are blazing – my hope soars! The policeman (in heavy rain gear) directs me into the parking lot where I shell out my ten dollars and receive my non-refundable parking ticket with instructions to display it on my dashboard. They would never make me pay ten dollars to park if the game wasn’t on! All is right in the world!

Did I mention that it was still raining?

I’m directed by several rain-gear clad parking attendants to a soggy spot that, by my careful calculations, was the farthest one from the stadium.

But the lights were on, the fans were here, I had my ticket, AND I had my brand new green cap! I snatched my hooded jacket from the back seat, put on my cap, covered it as much as possible and opened the door ready to fight the rain all the way to the field.

At that moment, the best omen of all appeared. As I turned to begin my watery trek, there stood the free shuttle ready to transport me (dryly) right to the entrance gate. Now I knew we were going to see some baseball. There might be a rain delay, but I was willing to wait until the cows came home! Afterall, I had a new green cap!

I wasn’t even concerned when, upon alighting from the shuttle, there seemed to be a line of people walking AWAY from the gate. I transferred my ticket from my jeans pocket to my jacket pocket, trying to keep it as dry as possible, ready to have it scanned and then make my way to my seat.

Then the ticket guy broke my heart! The game had just been cancelled! But, ,,, but, … I, … I just drove four hours in the rain to get here, AND I bought a green cap! He just nodded and pointed to the line forming at the ticket windows where we could process a ticket exchange or refund.

I waited patiently in line and found out that my ticket would be good for another game this spring (not possible for me) or a game next spring. Once next year’s schedule was out, I could mail my ticket to them with my choice of games and they would send me a replacement ticket. Oh well, …

I decided that I would not wait for the shuttle to take me back, but allow the rain to drown my sorrow and walk all the soggy way back to the Soul! The selfie that accompanies this saga captures a moment from that walk of disappointment!image

(I meant this expression to reflect my extreme disappointment.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a Miley Cyrus impersonation!  Sorry …)

Needless to say, when I got to the car, I was soaked. So was my CAP! The good news is that I’m sure it will dry out by next spring!

So, I checked in to the hotel, turned on the TV to watch a spring training game from the exceedingly dry Cactus League in Arizona, and sat listening to the rain pelt the window.

Tomorrow is supposed to be my beach day. The weather forecast says 73 degrees with intervals of clouds and sunshine. We’ll see …

Then Wednesday, I’ll drive over to Dunedin, FL to watch the Phillies take on the Toronto Blue Jays – if it doesn’t rain!

Keep your fingers crossed for me. -Jim

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Filed under Choral, Mozart, Mysteries, Opera, Thrillers, Uncategorized

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Happy August! I’ve been glued to the Olympics most of the week, but managed to move Twin Killings forward to almost 23,000 words. It’s back to work tomorrow morning, so I’ll do my best to write and compose during non-busy office hours. It looks like some of us will be moving to another building for the spring term, so I’m not doing a lot of unpacking – just what I need. It’s been raining at about 4 pm every day this week, so I’ve been switching the writing office from poolside to inside a lot. Here’s latest:

 

Composition: Absolutely no productivity this week, but some thinking of projects to work on or begin. I think the musical atmosphere at work is more conducive to composing. Meanwhile, I hope you will peruse my Colla Voce catalog and consider using the free pdf scores.


Mozart Book: It’s HERE! This week I received my author copies of the book. Here is the citation:


Shrader, James. The Choruses in Mozart’s Opere Serie. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2012.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7734-2928-4


As I reported last week, I’m considering looking to another non-fiction project concerning the choruses in Rossini’s serious operas which would seem to be the next logical step. Non-fiction works require months, if not years, of research, so I need to prioritize how I want to spend my time. I’ll keep you informed. Here are some shots of the book:



 


Twin Killing – We’re moving into what might be considered Act Three. I’ve got about 23K words in, which is about 96 pages. We’re breaking the ice in the relationship between Detective Charlotte Laster and Nick Flemons. They’re finally working together to thwart the second attempt of the Bonacci gang to assassinate Phillies center fielder Shane Hovis. Here’s a brief snippet:


     Laster was prevented from answering by the arrival of two great looking salads. When the waitress left, Charlie continued. “We interviewed the security personnel at the stadium and turned up one Elijah Placke. His daughter, Aisha, was taken off the street Friday after school. To get her back, he had to put the rifle in 212, open the window, and make a copy of his pass key.”
     “Wow! This is definitely a mob hit. Hey, will you start eating, I’m starving.”
     “My, my, a Yankee with manners.”
     “Don’t start that. I’m just trying to make a good impression.”
     “Well, you’re on the right track.”
     “Aw shucks, ma’am.”
     They both took a few bites of salad then Nick asked, “So, what happened to Aisha?”
     “They brought her back about 3:30 pm this afternoon. Dropped her off a block from her house. She was hooded or blindfolded throughout the whole thing. The only help she could give us was that she was put in a gray van with a sliding door. Hulet is taking the whole family to a safe house where we’ll keep two officers on twenty-four, seven.”
     “Did Mr. Placke cooperate?” Nick continued to put away his salad.
     “Yes, he was so nervous in the interview that he cracked right away. Even though his daughter is safe, he’s still scared shitless. He couldn’t tell us anything either. They called him and told him they had Aisha. He was supposed to make a copy of his key and leave it on his back porch. After they got the key, they called him again and told him they put a rifle on the porch and that he was supposed to put it in 212. Elijah, Carmella, his wife, and Aisha will stay under our protection until we figure this out.”
     “We’ve got to do the same for Hovis.”
     “There you go again, you’re very quick with the ‘we’ word, sergeant.”
     “Look, detective, how long would it have taken you to figure this out if you hadn’t accepted my invitation for dinner tonight? I earned a spot on the team. Besides, I’m the perfect combination of baseball and law enforcement. I can get inside that clubhouse.”
     Laster pulled out her badge and held it up, “This will get me into anything.”


That’s all for now. I hope you have a great week. I’d appreciate a comment or two and more Twitter followers @kleaspop. So, I’ll see you online!  -Jim

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Filed under Choral, Mozart, Mysteries, Opera, Thrillers

Sunday, July 29,2012

Happy last Sunday in July!

It’s been an interesting few days. My summer vacation is coming to an end. As I related last post, I’ve got three new preparations to get ready: Computers in Music; Intro to Music (Music Appreciation) with a new text book; and Intro to Music Online (with yet a different text book). In addition, I’m teaching the Freshman Orientation Seminar (How to be Successful as a Music Major), a graduate independent study on Opera Performance Practice, and, if I have any hours left, a voice student or two. I’ll go to the office for a few hours on Wednesday to begin getting organized.

>Composition: I’m looking forward to installing Finale 2013 on my laptop. It’s probably time for me to do another composition based on a Gregorian chant. That means it’s time to spend some hours with the good old liber usualis. I’ve told you already about my Missa Dominator Deus, but I do enjoy using chant manuscripts as a cantus firmus when planning a new composition. I should also delve back into the Breton opera Ankou. Although I don’t have the Scene Three libretto yet, I have plenty to do on Scenes One and Two. I keep waffling on the orchestration because I compose directly into the orchestration and then make the piano reduction. If I change my mind on instrumental timbre or orchestra size, I sometimes create problems for myself. But, enough shop talk!

Mozart book: Tick Tock Tick Tock. Still waiting … I guess it’s time to see where they are in the production process.

Twin Killing: I had some really good days this week, cranking out about 2,000 words. Then two things happened, it began to rain every day at exactly 4 pm, and the Olympics arrived! At least I’m over 20K now and moving into a time when the relationship between Nick Flemons and Detective Charlie Laster will begin to unfold. Very brief snippet this week, I suspect I’m telling you the whole story and that will never do!

In this brief phone conversation, Nick is trying to promote an idea he has which seems to be contrary to the official police investigation. How better to do it than over dinner …

Charlie got to her office and picked up the phone, “Laster.”
“Hi, Flemons here – don’t hang up! I know I’m supposed to stay out of the case, but I can’t help thinking about it. I have an idea that I think you will find very interesting.”
“Look, Flemons – “
“Just hear me out, and how about Nick, okay?”
“I’m in the middle of interviewing a very important witness, doing real police work, and you want to waste my time listening to a figment of your imagination?”
“Okay, okay, I get it. Look, I haven’t eaten all day, how ’bout meeting me at Carrabbas on Gulf to Bay, close to my hotel, and I lay out my thoughts. If I can’t convince you that this idea has merit, I’ll go hang out on the beach until you release me as a witness. I know you’ll have a good time because you’ll get to yell at me some more plus have a free dinner at my expense. So, in thirty minutes, I’m going over there, I’m gonna have a beer and an appetizer and wait until either you show up or they close. How’s that for a deal?”
“Don’t hold your breath, … Nick.” She hung up the phone and returned to the interview room.

;

Well, that should do it for now. It’s interesting to me that lots of folks seem to post on Facebook all day every day. It seems to indicate that many people either have a lot of time on their hands or that they feel the world is waiting, with baited breath, for the next bloviation. I wouldn’t change it for the world because I find it very entertaining. I suppose the same could be said of my drivel that appears regularly in this series of posts. The most prolific posters are those who proselytize their religious and/or political viewpoints. I have two statements that immediately make me an outcast to all proselytizers: 1) I prefer bells & smells to hum & strum, and 2) I am a registered independent who is actually a pro-choice Republican. Both of those seem to get me into enough trouble that nobody wants to talk to me about religion or politics, at least not in the deeeeeep south! Well, now that I’ve pulled my own string, I better vamoose! Have a great week, go USA, and I’ll see you online! -JAS

PS. It would be great if a comment or two would arrive. Cheers!

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Filed under Choral, Mozart, Mysteries, Thrillers