It’s been a busy few months since my last update, which is nice to be able to report. The most notable thing is that my spouse and I are fortunate enough to be fully inoculated, and we’ve tentatively started spending time with other vaccinated folks, including friends, nearby family, and music ensembles!
It feels like so much after a year of enforced distance, but on the bright side, the technical skills we’ve honed in order to participate in virtual music projects have borne some unexpected fruit: some friends and I have formed a wizard rock band called Potterwatch, and we’ve released two songs to date! The first is a thinly-veiled protest song against the former US Secretary of Education entitled “Dolores Umbridge,” and the second is a sea shanty called “Durmstrang,” which was part of an awesome compilation album of Harry Potter-themed sea shanties called Hut on the Wrock! We’re working on a handful of other songs at present and hope to have enough to play a live set in the not-too-distant future. This is a bit surreal for me, since it has been literally decades since I played in a band, but this is a fun way to disarm my perfectionism enough to allow myself to learn new skills (songwriting!) and hone old ones (lyrics writing, guitar, keys)!
And if you prefer your sea shanties new wave to magical, we at SACRA/PROFANA have your back: we released this wonderfully wacky sea shanty version of The B-52’s song “Rock Lobster!” That’s me in the awesome admiral’s hat. Alas, it only fits my head in the newfangled fore-and-aft way, so I was unable to honor Lord Nelson (and Jack Aubrey) by wearing it athwartships, but we had a ridiculous amount of fun doing this. Plus, I got to play my bosun’s pipe!
On the church gig side, the last few months of recording music with the other section leaders live (masked, distanced) for virtual services, including Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide, have been a musical highlight, though not without stress or challenges. We’ve recently opened recording sessions up to vaccinated members of the rest of the choir, and there will be some kind of return to in-person music at services next month, which will, I hope, be awesome for everyone. And for posterity’s sake, here’s the section leaders singing (distanced, masked) one of my favorite Lenten motets. I hope to look back at this and say, “Y’know, we sounded quite lovely, despite the less-than-ideal circumstances.”
On the writing side, I’ve been researching a big lyrics project that currently doesn’t have a composer attached. I am still only just learning how to write songs, so I doubt I’m up to writing something of the scale I’m thinking, but I’m hoping to have a better idea of what kind of piece this is going to be once I’ve gathered sufficient sources. I’m also working on revising a short story and occasionally poking at the sci-fi novel. I also had the pleasure of taking part in the 2021 edition of Short Tales From the Mothership, a microfiction event hosted by UCSD’s Geisel Library! This year’s event was in honor of the Geisel’s 50th anniversary, and you can watch the whole virtual event on Facebook here (my piece, “The Tin Robot,” starts about 47 minutes in)!
Otherwise, things are going well. I’m still working from home, Spouse is working in-person, and the dogs are terribly, terribly spoiled by getting long daily walks and weekly trips to the beach. Here’s a selection of recent pictures, mostly of the dogs because they are the most photogenic members of our household, including our trip to see Spouse’s family and recording with Master Chorale on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum!
Be well and be safe!