A Door Opens, A Door Closes

Wow, what a week, month, and year it has been. Yesterday evening was the culminating moment of several journeys, personal and professional, as well as the launch pad for the future.

I decided to accept a position as a doctoral student and graduate assistant at Texas Tech in early April of 2013, but I did so with some hesitation. I had come to truly love my job at Fort Dodge Senior High School, the city of Fort Dodge, and the state of Iowa in general. It was difficult to leave a community I had come to treasure.

Now, just over three years later, it is remarkable how quickly the time has passed. I am so thankful for this time of growth and challenge. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote that “a mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” That is certainly true of my three years of doctoral work. I have learned an incredible amount about the history and art of choral music and the trade of conducting.

Now I have the opportunity to take all of these experiences and apply them to my own practice. If anyone had asked where I would end up at the end of all of this, I know I would not have said a large public university, and I would have been hard-pressed to list Las Vegas as that destination. As it turns out, I could not have asked for a better fit for my professional passions and personal pursuits. I am very excited to become a part of the UNLV faculty and to contribute to the choral and music education culture there.

For my inspiration this week I return to my roots and the spiritual and worshipful music of my alma mater’s most storied ensemble, the Luther College Nordic Choir.

Song of the Week: Prayer by Rene Clausen


Similarly, the Oneota Valley is the home of Brian Andreas, the poet and artist behind the poem “Connection”, which I have known for many years and which I have adopted as a sort of subtitle to my work in the choral art.

There came a moment
in the middle of the song
when he suddenly
felt every heartbeat
in the room,

and after that
he never forgot
he was part
of something much