Friday, February 16, 2007

club night

Jason Young looked over at me last night and said, "This is my Christmas Day." I knew exactly what he meant. It was 6:29, which meant that Baylor's All-University Sing was about to begin. On the first night, Club Night, when the performers from all the clubs are allowed to see the show in costume, there's a buzz like no other. For one evening a year, Waco Hall is a world capital. You look up on the stage and see twelve hundred or so students singing and dancing their hearts out; you look out into the crowd, and it's like that shot in the opening credits of the Muppet Show where the audience is all muppets too. Bright colors, outlandish figures, top hats and spats, fairy princesses, bugs, bums, school kids.

The lights go down, the crowd volume goes up, the emcee comes out and says something or other, the curtain rises, and suddenly I realize that my face hurts from smiling so much.

Later on in the evening, I looked over at Jason and said, "My anniversary is coming up." We were one act away from Kappa Omega Tau's show. In 1987, I played synth for the KOT act, my very first experience in Sing. So, twenty years. When the time came, I got up onto the piano stand (as in Baroque days, the pianist is the conductor), sighed a satisfied sigh, and thought, "Twenty years."

Twenty years ago I was nineteen. I've done this just a little over half my life. I've seen somewhere over three thousand five hundred curtainrises in performance. It never gets old.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

gig facts

Stuff you might not have known about me:

Every jazz gig, if it's one I have a say in (like a Protagonists gig or Dolores del Rio), we play at least one song we've never played before. Often it's one that I make up on the spot.

Every jazz gig, I work in "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," either the main theme or JS Bach's immortal hook. I remember first hearing, in high school, that Bach inscribed each piece of music he wrote to the glory of God, whether it was a sacred or secular piece. That was important to me at a time when youth ministers and music ministers were hitting us with unhealthy ideas about the sacred and the secular.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Monday evening I got through with a recording session at midnight, had chilaquiles, and dozed a bit as Catherine drove me to Houston. After a few hours' sleep, I had breakfast with Jason Young, Patrick Watts, and a Big Important Guy at Lifeway Publishing. We ate beautiful omelettes. We caught up a bit. Oh, and we talked about doing arrangements for Lifeway's new edition of the Baptist Hymnal, due out sometime next year.

Finally, I get to get my hands on "God Of Earth And Outer Space!"

Saturday, February 3, 2007


Something must be said immediately about the word "segue." Listen!

A segue is an uninterrupted move from one section to another. Instead of a dramatic pause, or a commercial, or a transition, you just go right from one thing into another.

A segue is not a transition. We have a perfectly good word for transition. It is "transition." What we are in danger of losing, though, is a perfectly good word for what happens when there is no transitional material or pause between things.

When someone says, "that would make a great segue between...," what they mean is, "that would make a great transition between...."

I again state that a segue is when there is no transitional material.

Sorry. An entire weekend of conference talk has me on edge. (May we have a two-year moratorium on "unpack," please?)

Several years ago, I got a wonderful note from a wonderful person who had heard me speak and was moved to write. I was really grateful that this person thought enough of my speaking to sit down and affirm me in writing. I still have the note. One thing, though, that always gets me laughing about it is the piling of wrong on wrong on wrong that winds up in the phrase, "I love good introductions and sedgeways. Yours was superb."