Week in Review

2/27/2010 Saturday 8:30 am

Yesterday’s lecture was really well received.  It felt really great to be at the podium with such distinguished colleagues: my dear friend Dr. Cal Steeter, who is the Meadows Foundation Professor of Quality of Life in the Rural Environment at the UT School of Social Work, was there as well as my colleague Travis Marcum who is the director of education at the Austin Classical Guitar Society.  Dr. Streeter, who is about to depart to Geneva and go from there around Europe and Africa to sites he works with through the UT School of Social work, had overseen the social impact study that UT conducted on the ACGS ed program last year.  Travis Marcum, of course, is primarily responsible for implementing our program and schools and he and I collaborated for years to develop the curriculum in the first place.

We arrived at the convention with a plan to use a combination of powerpoint, DVD, and internet displays.  Its so funny how you can have a brief flurry of nearly complete chaos convert into completely smooth sailing!  I was responsible for the powerpoint, and somehow I had left off about 6 of Cal’s slides.  Fortunately they were based on images from the study he had completed, and I had the study on my computer – so we pulled the images we needed and titled them hastily.  Then we discovered that internet was not available – Travis wanted it to show our online curriculum in action.  So we tracked down the person who could help us with that.  We settled in the room for the presentation and had the usual connectivity issues with the projector and then were told that there was no audio option to amplify the DVD we wanted to play!  The fellow helping us with the AV said there was only one audio option for the room – a wireless microphone.  He took pity on us, however, as we tried in vain to hold the mic really close to the speaker on my mac while the dvd played, to amplify the sound a bit.  So, literally one minute before the lecture began, the lady returned with the internet code, the AV guy came back with the audio stuff, we had figured out the projector connectivity and the right slides were in the right places.  After I blabbed a bit about the history of the program, currents stats and vision, I just got to sit back and watch Travis and Cal take it away.  Great reception, and some good questions, and more people considering classical guitar as a viable choice to reach and engage diverse young people.

Backing up just a bit, Wednesday morning began at Jade Leaves – a tea house here in Austin I’m partial to for their incredibly peaceful environment – with a meeting with Janet Lande.  Janet volunteers for the Long Center and she wanted to do an interview for their newsletter about our upcoming international festival.  We talked for an hour before I realized I was late for my early lunch appointment at UT club with John Henry McDonald (on our board, and also known as the “Finance Guy” on News 8 Austin, founder of Austin Asset Management Company).  At lunch he introduced me to the Executive Director of the Austin Community College Foundation and we had a wonderful conversation including, in part, the beginnings of plans to help raise money to pay for students from our programs get to college to study guitar in the future.  UT club is always fun because I run into so many neat people like the director of the school of music, former dean of fine arts, and many more!

Thursday morning was similarly full, and began with 8am coffeee with ACGS treasurer Michael Fields.  Michael is an amazing force on our board, he and his wife Carol are dear friends, and he’s the kind of guy who will not only donate generously at a function, but then turn around and help you move chairs and sweep the floor afterward.  So we had a great chat about financial matters at ACGS and then it was off to KUT radio to meet Sylvia Carson, development director.  I’ve corresponded with Sylvia before, but we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting.  She is funny and warm, generous, and extremely creative and shrewd.  Its a remarkable combination, and I look forward to working with her, I hope, for a long time!  We were discussing, of course, the various ideas we have for collaboration in the run-up to the international festival here – KUT is a media sponsor.

Driving back to the office I spoke with Michael McGill who is putting together an arts panel day (April 21st) for Leadership Austin.  Michael and I spoke at the behest of LA’s director Heather McKissick – who is a dynamic force of nature! – and I readily agreed to speak at the event, details to come!  And speaking of radio, KMFA’s Diane Donavan asked me by email, when I got back to the office Thursday, if I’d show up to KMFA Monday morning at 9 to play and record and interview performance to air on Classical Austin on Wednesday night at 8!  So now I’m thinking I need to start practicing!  So… if you’d like to tune in – set your dial to 89.5 next Wednesday, March 3rd at 8PM CST, or listen online at KMFA.org!

Friday was the lecture, of course, so that dominated the morning.  But, unfortunately for me, I had no other distractions for Friday afternoon, which meant I had to limp back to my office, for one of the only times all week, and actually do some work!  April has been burning up the trail in so many arenas from follow up to last weekend’s auction, to prep for next week’s Duo Melis Concert, and students from around the US responding to Monday’s deadline to register for the youthfest in June as part of our international GFA festival.  Oh, and we’ve got two artists from Europe arriving Sunday to do 10 concerts in schools in five days this week!  So between those items, April had a stack-o-goodies for me to look at!

So, last word is: Duo Melis is amazing.  Watch them on You Tube here, and check them out next Saturday if you’re in Austin!

Comments are closed.