Composing in India
I have about two weeks to get everything ready for my time teaching in India as well as having everything prepared and covered for the worship services at Christ Community. This is the first time in 25 years I have had the services planned 7 weeks ahead. I have one more Sunday before the adventure begins. The good news, I have all three classes outlined and almost all the lesson plans done. My goal is to finish those plans up this week.
Although I feel I do a good amount of teaching as I conduct my rehearsals, I am looking forward to being in a formal classroom setting and spending one on one time with students. As a composer, I am especially excited for the chance to do some writing and to communicate some of this experience through the medium of music. If you remember a few weeks ago I had lunch with Abe. He grew up in Thiruvananthapuram. I asked him if there would be Indian folks songs or sacred music that he thought I might be able to use to create new arrangements for choirs here. He suggested I look up songs written by Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi. He was was a famous Malayali Christian preacher, poet and composer born in 1883 and was the leader of many missionary movements in Kerala. Upadesi wrote many songs that are now used in the churches in India. Much like the hymns of Wesley and Luther that we sing. I was able to find a website dedicated to his life and ministry with recordings of his songs. However, I could not find any scores for the pieces he had written. So one of the steps in the process will be to notate the songs I would like to use. I to translate them into English and create arrangements I can bring back for my choir. I will also be working on an orchestral work based of either some of the melodies of Upadesi or of Indian folks songs that I can program on the October concert for the Beatrice Regional Orchestra.
If you are interested in finding out more about Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi, check out the website (www.sadhukochukunjuupadesi.com) and take a listen to a few of his songs.
Since this post already has a couple of unrelated subjects, I’m going to finish off with one more bit of information. Last Friday I sent off my piano books and the conducting books some of you helped purchase. The fee to ship a box of 25 piano books and 10 conducting books weighing 14 pounds was $90.96. I was thrilled I got off for less than $100.
Until next time!
Books, books and more books
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Or should I say how many stamps does it take to get a book from Canada to the USA? I got this package in the mail Friday. I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like it. Not only does it have a menagerie of stamps, it still had to have a postage sticker from the post office as well. I added everything up and it came it 8.23, I assume in Canadian dollars since that is where it came from. That is around $10 in US dollars. Anyway, this was book 9 of 10 so as soon as the last order gets here I can ship the books off to India.
Three weeks from today I will be headed to India. It doesn't seem possible. There are many things I need to accomplish yet but each day, I get a few more things done and I know it will all work out. Many of my evenings are spent on the computer working on lessons plans for the classes I will be teaching. My goal all along has been to have the course outlines and lesson plans all done before I leave so I can really focus on the students and my time in India. I don't want to waste a minute of the experience being stuck doing classroom prep. I am sure I will need to tweak lessons as I go but if the bulk of the work is done here, it should not take near as long.
Please pray for not only me but my family and for Tami. This will be longest time we have been apart. The last time was when Tami was in Africa for almost three weeks in 2013. I will be getting back on August 8th the day before our 30th wedding anniversary. Since we have each done a trip like this apart, I vote for the next one to be a trip we can do together. God is big enough to figure that one out, right?
Until next time!
Here is a quick update about the books. If you remember Lorenz gave me 25 copies of my piano book, "My Redeemer," to give to the students in India. I can not say enough about the company and the people who work for them. They truly have a way of making this farm boy feel like a VIP. The books came in the mail last week and I am getting them ready to ship. I also started a Crowdrise fundraiser in order to provide "Conducting Techniques" by Brock McElheran for the students that will be in my conducting class. The college does not have a text book and this little book is going to be a great resource for them. I originally requested $150 dollars thinking I could get the books I needed and then be able to ship those books along with the piano books from Lorenz. Well the conducting books are no longer in print and I can get copies but they vary in cost since I had to buy them from individuals selling them on Amazon. I did manage to get 10 books for $147. I put out a second plea for donations and raised the amount to $250. That will allow me to get the books and also get them shipped to the college. Well it only took about 2 days and I got $325 for the project. I can't thank everyone enough who donated to the cause. You all ROCK... and you know who you are! As soon as all the conducting books get here from Amazon, they will be on their way to the Asian Christian College of Music.
Please continue to pray as I am in the middle of outlining and writing lesson plans for the three classes I will be teaching. I am also getting excited to make the trip but a little nervous about being away from home for so long. I am also praying that I will quickly adjust to my temporary home so I will be effective as I teach and can truly enjoy my time there and my time with the students.
Until next time!
I got my teaching assignments from Abraham at ACCM and I couldn't be more excited. I will be teaching three courses: Music Theory III (yes, I LOVE music theory!), Composition and Conducting. They have a text book for theory and also a book available for composition but I am free to set up the classes in whatever manner I choose. It will be a huge amount of work but I am looking forward to the challenge and excited to be able and have the freedom to teach the things I feel will be beneficial for the students.
A typical day runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a break at 1:00 p.m. for lunch. I will be required to teach 3 hours a day and I can set other times to work with students if I choose. I am looking forward to the classroom time but I also hope I can get some one on one time with students to go deeper in the composition and conducting process.
I will be working very hard in this time before I go to have everything prepared for my teaching duties so I can also spend some time in India writing as well. My goal is share this experience not only through this blog but through music I will compose while in India. Just wait my dear choir friends, you think I have some unusual harmonies already what will happen when I am half way around the world?
I leave you with a couple of items you can be praying for me as I continue to prepare for the trip. #1 - Pray that I would be able to get all the planning done needed so things run smoothly here at home. I will be missing 5 Sundays in a row at my church and there have been many years I have not missed one. I am rarely gone from worship but I know it will be good for me and my church to see that, yes, worship will continue to happen without me. #2 - Pray as I prepare for my classes that I would communicate well and connect with the students.
As we head into summer I will have a little more time to plan and as I spend more time planning I get more excited for what God has for me!
An update on the visa process: It has been to the Indian Embassy in Huston and was shipped back to the company I have been using to secure my visa. Only two more steps and I will have my visa in hand!
Until next time!
This blog will journal my experiences as I prepare to go overseas this July and teach at the Asian Christian College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in India.