The end of the year is fast approaching, my in-laws are visiting, and I have a schmancy Thanksgiving feast on order from a local purveyor of deliciousness so as to tax neither my sanity nor my 50+ year old electric stove. And while this is indeed an occasion for gratitude and joy, I have a few extra things to be grateful for this year.
Firstly, this summer I was approached by my musician friend Ken Martin, who expressed interested in setting one of my sonnets for choir. I sent him a selection of those I thought featured elements that might lend themselves well to being sung, and he was immediately drawn to “Something Like a Star,” whose title hearkens to Randall Thompson’s Frostiana, a piece he got to know intimately as a young conductor. I gave him some very general direction from a structural perspective, but I was absolutely blown away when he started sending me drafts of what he was working on. His marvelous piece was premiered earlier this month by SACRA/PROFANA, with Juan Carlos Acosta conducting. I was lucky enough to be present at the premiere, and Juan only put me on the spot a bit by asking me to read the text before they sang (eek!), but I got through it without embarrassing myself. And to say I was deeply moved by their performance would be a profound understatement!
n.b. the “woo!!” you hear during the applause is me!
So if that weren’t enough awesomeness of late, this month I also received an absolutely magnificent five-star review of my book RISK A VERSE: A Year in Daily Sonnets from the book review website Readers’ Favorite! You’ll want to read the full version of the review (here!), but even excerpted, the reviewer’s kind words effervesce, and I could not be more thrilled!
… In writing these fourteen-line poems to record and experience every day of her life, Weber has created a memoir that travels through the full gamut of the human experience and the whole range of emotions. …[T]he collection records an exciting life in a unique and entertaining way. … The poetic accomplishment is, in itself, a wonder … I was impressed by the variety of emotional content that expressed a flair and range of skill. Overall, Risk A Verse: A Year in Daily Sonnets chronicles a unique challenge on the part of Libby Weber, which results in an engaging experience for all readers and an insight into a true life account.
And last but not least, our final Willan West 2018 performance was last weekend (review here!). While I’m sure the festival organizers are relieved to see the end of this massive undertaking, it is a bit sad to think that there won’t be any more of these utterly unique presentations. However, Ruben gave the festival a fine send-off with Healey Willan’s barn-burner Fugue in E Minor as the final voluntary, and we celebrated a year’s worth of being ready and Willan (tee hee) over margaritas and jalapeño queso at Huapango’s (n.b., chugging queso is a very slow affair). There have been rumblings of doing recordings next year, plus a Willan documentary, so stay tuned!
Looking ahead, I’m doing loads of seasonal singing, including but not limited to San Diego Master Chorale’s Messiah Sing-Along (12/1), All Souls’ Point Loma’s Procession of Advent and Carols (12/2), and of course, caroling at O’Brien’s Pub (12/18)! In writing, I’ve got a silly music project due at the end of December. Next year, I hope to finish up a few fiction projects that are currently languishing in my incomplete file and break ground on a big-ol’ lyrics project I’ve been mulling over for the past year and a half. I also submitted RISK A VERSE to a number of contests and festivals, so we’ll see if anything nifty comes of that! And if not, hey! I still have a really cool book of sonnets of which I am super proud! And one of them is actually part of a piece of music now!
Life: it may not be perfect, but it is never dull!
Love to all,