Friday, April 1, 2016

Mom's Month


Every month has a special resonance and April to me is my mother’s month. She was born April 27th and died almost 93 years later on April 7th. She suffered her whole life from a bi-polar affliction, would lie in bed for days when it rained with a migraine, but out of those April showers came some extraordinary and fragrant May flowers. I am so grateful to not only have witnessed those blooms, but to have one captured on a video, from 2011 when I took my Jazz Class to perform at the Jewish Home for the Aged where she lived the last six years of her life. We did a rousing version of “I Got Rhythm” that included a drum solo and spoons solo with my Mom conducting from her wheelchair, with such style and energetic rhythm and some innate musicality that seemed to come from nowhere. I will show it tomorrow in my Keynote Speech at the EARCOS Conference, as I showed it a couple of days ago to close the Thai Jazz Course. Precious.

It looks to be quite a month. Starts here in Manila, a promising first day with 65 teachers in a small music room laughing, dancing, singing, playing—the ordinary (for me) that is always extra-ordinary. Tomorrow I will give a talk on The Humanitarian Musician, a theme that keeps re-appearing as an explanation for my life’s work. With the help of a marvelous IT person, managed to clip videos and put them coherently together in Powerpoint. May the Tech gods be with me as I show them to some 800 plus folks tomorrow.

Sunday, I wing home for one night and then up the next day for the hour flight to reunite with the family and extended family in Portland, with grandchildren Zadie and Malik at the front of the line for attention. My fingers are itching already.

Within the first couple of weeks, I’ll attend a local college reunion, jump back into school, jump out again to travel with the 8th graders to Alabama for a social justice field trip. Back to get the kids up to speed for May’s Spring Concert and gear up for the long-awaited party celebrating 50 years of The San Francisco School. Hoping to re-connect with alums as far away as 1975 and as close as last year. It will close the month and include the first of several bittersweet goodbyes to my wife as colleague after 41 years of driving to school together.

I heard somewhere that the Golden Years are about slowing down and enjoying a well-deserved rest, but somehow I didn’t get the memo. Onward!

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