How is it already October?
On the bright side, October contains Oktoberfest, Halloween, AND is the birth month of Healey Willan, the Anglo-Canadian composer who is the focus of Willan West 2018, a year-long festival of his music in this fiftieth year since his death.
In mid-October, the Willan Collective, a Willan-loving choral supergroup, will be singing not one, not two, but three separate events in honor of Willan’s birthday weekend! I myself will be singing a massive choral concert on 12 October, a joint presentation by Willan West 2018 and the UNLV Singers, featuring some rarely-performed Willan gems like “An Apostrophe to the Heavenly Hosts,” an a cappella double-choir motet with two additional “mystic choirs.” I am so stoked! And if you want a preview of coming attractions, check out Willan West 2018’s YouTube channel, which features a number of motets and movements from his magnificence-in-miniature “stopwatch” masses. It’s gonna be baller, y’all!
In less baller news, my verse memoir, RISK A VERSE: A Year in Daily Sonnets, did not advance to the next round of the Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize, which was disappointing. But I took a gander at the books that did advance and realized that those books are markedly similar in subject matter and style to other published memoirs, which honestly, makes a great deal of sense, given that the contest is sponsored by an organization that’s all about mainstream publishing. So it’s not really surprising that the categories my book was dinged in, plot (7 of 10) and originality (8 of 10), are the categories in which the book strays the farthest from your average memoir. By contrast, my prose (heh) and characterization/execution were both scored 9 of 10. So I think the critic feels that my writing is good, it’s just that the project is an odd duck, both of which are things I already knew.
I’m glad I entered, as the critic’s report had some nice, blurbable things to say, but also glad not all of my eggs are in one basket in terms of recognition. Stay tuned for news on that once I get around to sending out all the review copies! (La!)
This month, several of my writing projects kick into high gear, which is wonderful to be able to say after not having written much since my writer’s retreat in July. In addition to futzing with several short stories, I’ve started researching the libretto for a large-scale choral work that I’m working on, a composer friend sent me the finished version of a choral setting of one of my sonnets, which is AMAZING and I can’t wait to share, and I had an exceptionally silly idea for some Renaissance counterpoint that I have sent off for translation, because that’s apparently the way I roll.
Upcoming October singing:
- Concert: Choral Works of Healey Willan on October 12 with Willan West 2018
- Brahms’s German Requiem on October 21 & 28 with San Diego Master Chorale
- Sung Eucharist, Sundays at 10:15 am at All Souls’ Episcopal Church, Point Loma
Smooches to All!