Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Cup of Sewanee

This isn't just ANY ole cup of coffee.... it's a cup of I'M GOING TO SEWANEE COFFEE!! 

Honestly, I can't believe it! I am SO EXCITED and HAPPY! It's almost is indeed a dream and lately, I have been catching myself occasionally stopping mid-thought and finding myself grinning and pondering my new journey of postulancy with rapid heartbeats and wonder. No joke that this is a dream of mine. I fell in love with Sewanee: The University of the South in 1988 when I was a senior in Porter-Gaud High School (Charleston, SC) and when I visited, it was my first choice. I had been planning to major in music and something else, not sure what. I was even thinking about keyboard at the time, having had a tiny bit of piano training. I remember I wrote my application essay on mentorship and role models and used Angela Lansbury as my example of success complemented with living. I had been a fan of her roles in fun mysteries and also in Sweeney Todd.
Well, it was not to be yet. I received a scholarship, but it was basically book money. My parents made too much to qualify for most types of loans, yet not enough to afford expensive places such a Sewanee or Emory at the time. My brother was also still at home for a few more years and finances had always been tough. Anyway, I ended up having to go to "the dreaded state school" which, at the time, was a peer-pressured shame at the prep school I was attending. Now, I think anything goes and of COURSE I understood - even at the time - that where you attend college often doesn't matter as much as what you make of it when you're there. So, I wasn't about to go to Clemson (nope!) because I was already a USC Gamecock fan like my Dad so I chose USC. At first, I was rather disillusioned at having my dream swiped from underneath my feet and I didn't know what major to choose or how to like this school. My parents thought I should choose something where I'd be able to make a living so I liked Biology and chose that, thinking I'd become a virologist and maybe could cure the common cold. (Now, actually THAT would be insanely awesome, had it happened, but I like people WAAAAAAY more than petri dishes). After a year, I was hooked on USC and I am a HUGE Gamecock fan!  A bio-pre-med major, it took me almost three years to find my way to music and I was only able to convince myself I could do a music major because....wait for it.....

There was no required recital in the music education track.

What a cop out. Well, not really...I had so much more stage fright then than I do now - even though now I still have a TON. To think that I went from that to eventually getting a doctorate in conducting is a pretty amazing transformation. (I joyfully returned to USC after an MM at Emory!)
So, after a brief time as a French major and a Psychology major (like a month or two each), I came into music and was hooked. I still am. In fact, one of the things that "sold it" in my period of Episcopal discernment was in October 2013, I suddenly realized that I didn't have to give up being a musician. What?! YAY!
I identify with being a conductor and singer now and probably always will to some degree. 

That REALLY opened up my heart!

Now, I felt free and able to hear God's call more clearly and I am SO HAPPY now because I feel MUCH freer to move forward to where I'm being called. My vision of ministry has increased like the outward circles from something dropping in a pond, getting richer and more amazing with each layer and all the while strengthening that innermost layer. I cannot wait to take courses and learn from the faculty and my fellow classmates. 
Formation - I need it! 
Knowledge - I need it!
The beautiful mountain - I need it!
Ohhhhh and there's this: the exciting fact that I received my Sewanee housing assignment yesterday!

More anticipation!!! It's a tiny apartment on the edge of campus, but it has two windows, a nicer kitchen than I have now, and a couple of built-in drawers in the bedroom so perhaps I can sell my dresser, which would be GREAT! It is what I asked for! I can't wait to find out more about it and see exactly what it looks like but I am thrilled to know where I'll be and it makes it all the more real!

Cleaning out my UNO office is also making things super real. I have a TON of stuff, especially books and music. I'm pretty proud that I whittled down an entire 4-shelf bookshelf of choral sheet music to a 1/2 box. That's great for me, considering I have extreme sentimental value associated with 90% of everything. :-) 
I will have to ask at church if anyone has any room in a garage or attic to store some boxes of books for me, but I might be able to stack bookshelves and may be doing that in both the bedroom and the living room. Time will tell.
One thing I've learned that does make me sad is that my position of Director of Choral Activities at UNO is being adjuncted out and there is not any information as to whether or not the position itself is going away or if they will do a search (which I hope they do!), or if it will simply morph into a choral/music ed position once the new School of the Arts is on track and fully functioning with admins in place, financial development, and more faculty and staff. That could happen well and quickly....or it could drag out and maybe happen or maybe not. I must admit, it makes me sad and a little mad too. I worked HARD over the ten years I spent there to build the choirs, the job itself, the budget (I'm leaving the choral foundation account at almost $20,000 which would normally be awesome), and being active in the community so that the choirs were respected. I'm proud to say we combined with the choirs of Xavier, Loyola, Tulane, The Baptist Seminary, Dillard, the Jefferson Chorale, the NOCCA School (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts), and more during my ten years! Still, I know that this is the way of much in academia and also with many music positions on many educational institution levels today. 
While I truly hope that the choral area will rise again and go much further, I recognize it is no longer "mine" and that is very freeing.I know I did my best and did a good job! :-)
Ten years at any place is also quite respectable!
So, all these things are on my mind this morning - mostly giddy excitement though, as I drink from my new cup of Sewanee!

No comments:

Post a Comment