Sumer Is Icumen In, bonus niceness

I blinked and suddenly it was summer, at least in fact, if not in feel. It’s been pretty grey, wet, and misty late of late, but thankfully, we’ve had a few nice days to take the Long Low Ladies to the beach.

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I see a lov-er-ly pair of dachshund girls! There they are a-standing in a row!

The day job has finally slowed down enough to let me catch up on everything work-related, singing has been spectacular, and I’ve made some progress on outstanding writing projects, though I’m hoping to make more next month at my annual writer’s retreat on the magnificent shores of Lake Michigan.

First, I’d like to share a writing thing! A composer friend approached me with a conundrum: he had written a choral setting for a poem that he found online, but he’d been unable to get the poet’s permission to use it. He asked me I’d be up for helping him resolve a Whitacre-Silvestri-Sleep-type situation by providing him with new lyrics to fit the piece he’d written, preferably lyrics that referenced themes of universal love and nature. This was, of course, right up my street, and I’m looking forward to sharing the final version!

And one final lovely writing thing: IndieReader reviewed my book RISK A VERSE: A Year in Daily Sonnets, and it’s a beautiful review!

RISK A VERSE, at its heart, is a window into the poet’s life, with simple pleasures and dramatic high points, annoying setbacks and painful heartbreaks, and through it all, the steady rhythm and rhyme of the sonnet, played with, explored, and thoroughly enjoyed.

RISK A VERSE will delight sonnet-lovers with its experimental, playful, curious and creative approach to that most elegant of verse-forms.

*happy sniffle* And if that weren’t awesome enough, IndieReader included my book in their list of Best Reviewed Books for April! Sonnets aren’t everybody’s thing, I know, but I’m absolutely thrilled that those who love rhyming verse might just find their way to my book because of this. YAAAAY!!!

On the music side of things, I had the great joy of singing Mozart’s unjustly neglected cantata Davide Penitente K. 469 with the all-star Mainly Mozart Festival orchestra and 59 of my Master Chorale friends. Five years prior, we performed Mozart’s Great C Minor Mass, upon which Davide Penitente was based, with Mainly Mozart, and it was definitely an adjustment to sing a piece we’d learned in Latin with an entirely new-to-us Italian libretto. But what a deeply rewarding to sing Mozart’s sublime, dramatic, difficult music well, and I know we did. And with that orchestra! *kisses fingertips*

What’s more, Augustin Hadelich, one of my favorite violinists, played Beethoven’s monster Violin Concert on the 2nd half of the concert, and then played Paganini’s fiendishly pyrotechnic Caprice No. 24 as an encore, like it was no big deal and as though he hadn’t just played a 50-minute concerto with cadenzas so exquisite that I cried twice (concert reviews here and here!).

But the best part was the fact that my entire family came out to hear the performance, so I got to share that wonderful evening of music with my nearest and dearest, who came all the way from Illinois, Indiana, and New York! The family trip to San Diego wasn’t only to hear me sing, of course— we were also celebrating my Mom’s 70th birthday (complete with Swedish princess cake!), Father’s Day, and my parents’ wedding anniversary. There was much to celebrate, and celebrate we did!

In other singing fun, I’ve got loads of nifty things coming up: I’ll be warbling winsomely on Star Spangled Pops, a symphonic celebration of the San Diego Padres at 50, the world premiere of Galaxy Quest in Concert, and Broadway Hits of Rodgers, Hammerstein, & Hart for the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights with Master Chorale, blissing out on summer Evensongs with the St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral Schola, and I’ll be kicking off SACRA/PROFANA’s 11th season with a concert of mid-century modernist masterpieces in the fall!

And last but not least, my spouse and I are in the process of culling all the furniture that has broken or been unfixably damaged to the point that we can’t give it away in the decade since we bought our place, as much of it has landed in the office, thus transforming My Writing Space into The Dumping Ground We Close Up When Company Visits. Once a trip to the landfill has been achieved, we’re going to install continuous, wall-mounted bookshelves on the long wall of the office (plus bonus comics storage boxes below!). I cannot tell you how excited I am to have so much shelving that we might even be able to get rid of an actual bookshelf or two(!). If this round of installation is successful but and there are still excess books, we might repeat the experiment in the guest room. Because nothing says “welcome” like a ridiculous number of reading options, right?

Anyway, I’ll be spending some quality time with my Libib app in the not-distant future. Given the hectic pace of the past few months, I welcome it!

Smooches to All!

Libby

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