Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Word Count Wednesday and Weekend Wanderings
Before I forget (again), last week's Word Count Wednesday total was 3121 -- the highest since I started keeping track at the beginning of the month. I'm especially excited about that since I had to dig my notebook out from under a pile of papers on my desk to determine this week's count…which I hadn't even written down, let alone tallied. Some weeks are like that. This week's total is a measly 738 -- which is better than nothing, but leaves me with some catching up to do. Fortunately, my writers' retreat is this weekend, and I have several projects calling my name, and, one would think, some time to get them done.

In my defense, this is a time that that left hand "what I did instead" column -- had I used it -- would have come in handy. Instead of working on my writing projects, I was grading papers and learning music, both of which relate (at least peripherally) to writing and creative pursuits. I also attended a webinar related to promoting my writing….and I'm sorry to say my time would have been better spent on Facebook. Or watching television. Yeah. That disappointing -- and about the same ratio of information to advertisement.

But the music…that was a reasonable substitute. I had the opportunity to go back to Bucknell last weekend and sing one last time under the direction of Dr. William Payn, who was our Chapel Choir director during my last year or so in college. Dr. Payn is retiring, and Sunday night was his final concert. 80+ Chapel Choir alumni returned to Rooke Chapel to sing with the current crop of collegiate Chapel Choir singers.

Photo credit: Susan Trumpore Pivetz
Wow. Were we that good when we sang there as students? I really don't think we were. A friend and I joked over lunch that we aren't sure if we'd have made the cut if we auditioned today. The sound was phenomenal. Pure. Rich. Lush. And nearly all of it a cappella from a relatively small group of singers. And for six songs, we post-collegiate singers got to sing along.

But rehearsal was only a small part of the weekend, which necessitated some advance planning. But, thanks to preparation and YouTube, even procrastination didn't sink me this time. I arrived at Bucknell knowing my part…but unsure of whether or not the notes that I used to have were still part of my repertoire. Age and vocal cord surgery aren't kind to sopranos, and I always promised myself I wouldn't be the little old lady who should have dropped down to mezzo a decade ago.

But something amazing happens in a group that size and of that caliber. I'd marked the parts in my music where I'd have to drop down to alto, and in our whirlwind rehearsal, that's just what I did. But warmed up, excitement and energy swirling…the notes were there. Against all odds, and for the first time in a long time, I hit those notes. And they sounded pretty good.

The next day, I took yet another new step on the alumna road -- parent of a potential legacy. Formerly (and very briefly) a student tour guide myself, I found myself on the other side of the situation when I went on my first official tour of the campus as the parent of a potential applicant. Interestingly, despite the fact that the tour was quite extensive, neither the Weis Center for the Performing Arts nor Rooke Chapel, where I'd spent the bulk of my time on Sunday, was a part of it. Still, it was the perfect way to cap our visit, and for once, I didn't feel sad when I left campus, as though I'd left something undone.

Keeping my writing goals in mind is important, but so is making room for other things. While I can't be blasé about re-allocating writing time to other pursuits, I also can't be so rigid that I let opportunity pass me by. Writing another thousand, or even two thousand words instead of traveling back to campus would have brought me closer to finishing one of my many writing endeavors, but oh, what I would have missed.

New week. Fresh start. 700 words in and miles to go before I sleep, with music running through my head.

Photo credit: Kelli Bruno


  1. You know what? I have had that exact same experience when I sing at Festival of Lessons and Carols every Advent. I am an alto, but somehow I hit those too-high-for-my-range notes when I'm properly warmed up and in a group that carries me along.
    All the best with the college search!

  2. Thanks, Barb. We have time. We took advantage of this one because we could get our feet wet (luckily not literally -- beat the rain by one day) in familiar territory. Now I know what to ask and look for everywhere else :-)