I'd like to take a brief moment to take stock of what happened in 2013. This was a challenging year, a restorative year, and a difficult year.
In February, I left my position as Director of Music Ministries at First Presbyterian in Hernando, MS for both personal and professional reasons. This was a massive leap of faith; I left the church with no job prospects. Nonetheless, I walked away confident that God would provide for my daily bread.
Leave that church job allowed me to return to my old house church with Christ Community, where I got to worship in my neighborhood with friends old and new.
In March, I got an opportunity to attend the national conference for the American Choral Director's Association in Dallas, TX, where I heard incredible performances of some of the world's best choirs, including the University of Louisville Cardinal Singers, the Tallis Scholars, and most impressively of all, the Dallas Symphony Choir in a performance of Benjamin Britten's magnum opus, The War Requiem.
With plenty of inspiration, I led the Rhodes Chamber Singers on a fabulous tour to New Orleans, LA with many standout performances.
When I came back to Memphis, I began a brief stint with Christian Community Health Fellowship as a part-time office assistant, where I helped a small but dynamic staff plan and execute their annual conference in Atlanta, GA. I had the opportunity to go to Atlanta for the gathering, where I got to hear Bob Lupton, Chris Rice, and other great speakers.
But my time with CCHF would be short, because in June, I went to Chicago to see my good friend Andrew Marin with The Marin Foundation, and join their staff for the annual I'm Sorry Campaign in Boystown. I came home from that trip with an exciting new venture: I joined the ranks of The Marin Foundation staff as Director of Community Relations, Memphis.
My work with The Foundation has consumed the better part of the last quarter. I officially began my duties in September, and I have already had opportunities to consult with pastors and community leaders as we seek to build bridges of reconciliation between the Church and the LGBT community. Our bi-monthly Living in the Tension gatherings grow in attendance, and through these shared dialogues, we are all challenged to examine our biases and pre-conceived assumptions about our respective Other - whomever the Other may be.
Of course, I'm still making music. The Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale gave a once-in-a-lifetime performance of the aforementioned War Requiem in November, and BealeCanto: A Professional Men's Ensemble has sung in front of several packed houses this past fall. Looking ahead to 2014, I'm eager to lead the Rhodes Singers on their annual tour, this year to Birmingham and Atlanta.
2013 by the numbers:
States visited: 6
Cities visited: 10
Performances given: 16
Choirs involved with: 7
Number of athletic events for which I sang the National Anthem: 3
Number of vocal parts I sang in concert: 3 (Bass II, Baritone, Tenor 2)
Books read: 23 + 1 unpublished manuscript
Number of miles biked: 839 (+/- 384)
Number of margaritas made: I lost count
Number of times I played the Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience in its entirety, in one sitting: A dozen
Number of times I went to a Wait Wait Don't Tell Me taping: 1
Number of scratches Bela Copland left on my hands: 2,349,102
Number of words in this review: 588
Have a Happy New Year, friends!
Until next time,