I got very excited when I realized I could use this as a title for this post. Here’s the reason:
1. capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
3.a (3) an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
Today is the feast of Epiphany, which is significant to me as a church organist. It’s the official end of the Christmas season (i.e., day 12 of Christmas, or the day when one famously received 12 drummers, 11 pipers, 10 lords…)
But also this first week of the new year has been a time of several realizations. And since tonight is the end of my winter break, it seems like a good time to reflect on them.
Today I spent several hours taking a hike in the forest north of me. It was a lovely day of weather, and that’s where most of this post was developed. I recently started listening to The Original Cast, which almost seems tailor-made for me.
In this podcast, host Patrick Flynn brings on someone working in the theatre and asks them to reflect on a cast recording that has been formative for them somehow. This has the double impact of (a) getting into someone’s brain about how they think of the world and the art of musical theatre and (b) introducing the listener to dozens of cast recordings.
Those who know me know I’m a huge sucker for cast recordings. I have a spreadsheet of nearly 900 titles of musicals which I want to explore if at all possible. This has led me to search out obscure cast recordings or famous ones that I avoided or missed.
And yet just in the first 3 full episodes, 2 of them are recordings I’d never listened to before this afternoon. The original 1967 cast recording of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and the 1995 cast recording of Hot Mikado. I highly recommend them both, but especially the second one.
Anyway, all this to say that listening to these discussions and soundtracks has reminded me of my love for musicals and the way they tell stories. I’m more excited for my next opportunity to work on a show, which I hope is coming soon.
Most of my attention this winter has been on my work as an organist. Since taking on the job at Advent Lutheran Church right at the start of the church calendar, I’ve weathered one of the busiest musical seasons at the church. On Christmas Eve I was responsible for 12 hymns (a typical service has 5-6) plus completely different sets of prelude, offertory, and postlude music for a piano driven service as well as an organ-driven service. The following week I played a lessons-and-carols service containing another 11 hymns.
I’ve grown tremendously as an organist in just a few weeks. My confidence has built and my interest in the finer points of playing has increased. As I noted on Instagram a couple days ago, I am finally starting to feel musical, not just technical.
I hope to keep playing as I go. I know that the congregation and leaders at Advent have been very complimentary about my work, and I am very gratified for the feedback.
Everyone asks for New Year’s resolutions. My stock response this year has been “I don’t do resolutions; I do plans.” What I mean by that is that I don’t vaguely commit to something. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it for real. Which means I need a specific goal (SMART goals, anyone?) and a process. This year I’m working to fall more in love with processes. Consistency is more important than anything else.
That’s why on Instagram I’m logging a #100daysofpractice challenge, plus I’m making a plan every week for workouts. I don’t feel bad that I’m not working out every day because I know when my next workout will be.
I’m tracking my budget, which is encouraging me to eat more at home. In fact, last night I made tacos with a homemade salsa which was lovely. If I can fall in love with that kind of thing more, I’m in great financial shape. I need to be saving more.
So if I buy into the “word of the year” trend, mine for 2019 is CONSISTENCY. If it matters, it’s worth doing regularly.
That should apply to posting here some too. But we’ll see. For now, I’ll continue to post as I’m inspired.