Monday 4 March

Sorry it’s been so long since my last blog in the middle of January. The highlight of January was my attendance of the Liturgical Composers Forum in St Louis, MO at the end of the month. I took with me a setting of a text by Jan Berry in a collection sent me by Kathy Galloway. I’d been looking for something which might embrace the feelings of survivors of clerical sexual abuse as well as the congregation stunned by what was happening to their church. Initially I gave the piece the strong title ‘From Hidden Pain to Open Wound’. Now I feel more inclined towards ‘A Place we can turn to’ which is a quote from the text and which might open the piece to wider topical use. I am grateful to friends Bernadette and Marty for their helpful comments. Indeed it was well received by the Forum in general. During the meeting I was also invited to take a Presidential speaking role in a liturgy created by Marty Haugen. It is a rare thing indeed for me to do such a thing as I’m always usually involved in the music but I was graciously encouraged to do more of this.

There was a lot of wine drunk and some of the nights were long … especially the last night when I never went to bed after the concert given by composers to a packed house.

I returned to work for another week and then in mid February I disappeared to the beaches further south. In fact I stayed outside Sarasota (only an hour away) and visited Lido Key and Carpesen Beach close to Venice. On the one cloudy and wet day I visited the many Goodwill stores in the town.

Most evenings I adjourned to the nearby bar for a few beers and some great music from local musicians.

I was still on vacation on Saturday 16 February but made myself available to play a wedding in the new Jesuit Chapel. There was a string quartet and a visiting singer in addition to me. There were flowers everywhere which seemed a little OTT for just one hour in the church. Later I heard that the wedding had cost a total of $500k!

On Saturday 23 February I met a guy who arrived at the church desperate for help. He was born in Cuba and as an alternative to National Service with the army had elected to do a three year stint with a medical mission in Venezuela. His time there was tough and he left after 6 months and gained citizenship in USA. However his father was now dying in Cuba and the government there were refusing him entry to visit him because of his earlier infringement. Some decisions have terrible outcomes later on.

On Monday 25th February I took delivery of an Allen Protege digital organ. I’d bought it ‘blind’ so was delighted to finally see and discover it perfect for my house. However they forgot to collect the speakers so will have to make another trip!

I enjoyed a wonderful evening listening to The Beach Boys live at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Thursday 28 February. I had forgotten how polished they are and were.

The last month has been one of record good weather with temps soaring to the high 80s! I’m looking forward to welcoming friends here once Brexit is sorted (if ever).

More disturbingly I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I have immediately taken radical steps to reduce my sugar levels. I being more careful about what I eat but this is difficult in USA and I’ve decided to avoid beer and now favour vodka. Lent beckons soon so the discipline will probably have significant results.


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