I am the chairman of the board at Maryland Youth Ballet. How this came about is a long story. I have no qualifications for this position at all. And yet I am this, and being this changed my life.
As a career musician I always felt somehow untethered. Unattached to the place I lived. I always felt that if the right gig came along I would move in a heartbeat to Los Angeles or New York, or Austin Texas. I lived in Bethesda Md nearly by chance. My conncetion with my county, Montgomery County was as slender a thread as paying taxes and getting a discount at my Summer swimming pool.
I joined the board of MYB almost as a lark. I was thinking “what a hoot, me? on a board?” My reaction to being chosen as president was similarly light and ironic. As it has turned out this was one of the most important turning points in my life. Ove the past five years we have gone from having a dreadful facility and an organization teetering on collapse to having one of the best ballet studios on the East Coast and being one of Montogmery County’s largest, most financially robust arts non-profits. I am intensely proud of this.
On a personal level, this “job”, this labor of love has informed and directed the rest of my life.. yes, even as a composer. I now know most of my county council members. I know the Leggetts. I know my State legislators and my State senator. I live in Montgomery County in a connected way that I never thought I would. It is important to me where I live.
Last week I acted as emcee for the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet. I looked out at the owners of businesses from all over Silver Spring, the business hub of Montgomery County and I was intensely proud to be one of them and part of this group and part of this County.
GSSCC sincerely thanks the sponsors and members who supported the 2012 Awards & Installation Dinner this past Wednesday, one of the Chambers most important fundraising events of the year. The money raised through these events is critical to the Chamber’s ability to adequately serve our members.
I just finished up two days of mixing with engineer Ken Schubert. We were two guys sitting at a console staring at a screen of ProTools information with two very good speakers on either side – and not talking much for 8 hours a day. That is some guys’ idea of a great day. I guess it is mine. It reminds me of a story about the famous pilot, Chuck Yeager, flying in tandem with another pilot across the entire country, speaking only a dozen words during the whole trip and feeling like they had a hell of time at the end of the day. I’m not sure if this is a particularly male trait or not. But I have only had these experiences with guys. We sit and listen…. and listen again. then one guy says:” Do you think the guitar is a little wet? ” or “Let’s lose the piano until the bridge.” The other guy answers with ” Hmmm… we could try it?” This would be followed by another half hour of sitting, listening and staring. In two days we mixed three songs and ended up thinking we were flying right along on this project.
At the same time I had to listen to the masters of the new Chaise Lounge Christmas album, “A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas”. Mastering is a completely different level, a much deeper level of listening that I am not capable of. Greg Lukens and Bill Wolf are the two “master”minds ( pun intended) involved here. They also sit in a dark room surrounded by audio gear and mumble about “shelves” and say things like ” Is that getting a little tubby ?” In the end they took an album of 10 songs that were mixed over the course of nine months, and had a variety of instrumentations, and made them sound like they all truly belonged on the same record.
This is not my favorite part of my job, but it is one that is odd and peculiar to this craft of recording music. In some ways I owe my career to the various engineers who have looked at me and said in all sincerity ” for the love of God, can we pull some of the big room back… please?”