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During our hasty trip to Bennington, we saw a number of painted panthers. This one was my favorite.

Two more )

Pics- today

Sep. 8th, 2014 09:56 pm
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Heron along the Erie Canal.

Two more )


Sep. 7th, 2014 10:41 pm
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I'm in today's pic instead of taking it. Look-- roses! pipes! me!
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Today, so far: Had an absolutely lovely first Sunday at Delmar Prez, as they call themselves. Not note-perfect, but only one little glitch that anyone actually noticed. Comments: "Wow!" "So nice to hear a real organist!" and "Felt like you've always been here." Reception afterwards with a cake with my name on it, and a punch fountain, how fun! Folk were just incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Afterwards the three of us had lunch at a local restaurant, and it was just utterly perfect: diner-type breakfast menu but with some contemporary twists, and done very well, in a nicely renovated old house; live guitar music amplified just enough to hear, but still easy to converse. We'll go back!

Yesterday evening: one member at Delmar gave us two tickets to see Joshua Bell, and another sold us two tickets, so off we went. Really an excellent concert, and overall delightful experience. The crowd was happy and enthusiastic and very respectful.

Earlier: on Friday I dropped off two prescriptions for Laura. A few hours later she got an automated call saying they were ready. We went to pick them up at noon Saturday-- and discovered that only one was ready. The other couldn't be transferred from Vermont because it's a controlled substance, and they hadn't bothered to call on Friday to let us know. So we found out on Saturday, when the doc's office was closed, and she had only one pill. Pharmacist suggested we might be able to get the doctor to call in an emergency 5 day supply and then mail a paper scrip, but knowing our practice, that would work only if her doctor was the one on call. So I started calling pharmacies in the closest town in Vermont, Bennington-- and the second one I called was open until 6, and able to transfer the prescription. Kid and I jumped into her truck and drove an hour to pick up the drugs. Luckily once they were in hand Laura entirely relaxed; we played tourist going home and made a nice afternoon of it. But it sure would have been nice if someone had alerted us to this kind of problem sooner-- either her doctor in VT before we left, or the pharmacy here!
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Barge on the Hudson.


Fishing on the Mohawk.


Sep. 3rd, 2014 09:27 pm
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My pic of the day. I am taking a particular delight in seeing groundhogs, which are amazingly rare in Vermont-- too many large predators, including (but not only) loose dogs. That's a white water treatment tank behind it.


Sep. 2nd, 2014 10:05 pm
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My daughter spotted this tiny charmer while we were walking-- barely 3 inches long. I think it's an eastern red spotted newt.


No clue what this hawk is, and I don't know enough about birds of the region to guess, but I'm pleased with the shot.


Aug. 17th, 2014 09:23 pm
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If I had stopped to photograph every beautiful view today, I'd still be out there somewhere.

Four more )
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So, today was my last day at CLC. Amazingly, I slept pretty well last night, but was up a bit early, and arrived at church very early. Even so, my co-organist Luther was there already, but he kindly let me warm up first. I spent 20 minutes running through what little I was playing on organ-- liturgy, and one trumpet/organ piece. Then I stepped out while he warmed up. The next half hour got rather hectic, but I managed to warm up with everyone who really needed it, and then all the musicians for the day gathered for prayer.

Then we were off. Five different pianists each played one piece for the prelude. Sadly, the only adult had a rough go of it, while the four young people were all brilliant. The contemporary group played the opening hymn, one that the congregation likes and sang well. Two of our Congolese women sang next; then a gospel hymn with trumpet and saxophone, both played by dear friends. Pretty sure there was a sermon next, though I can't say much about it! For the offertory, nearly all the musicians gathered to sing 10,000 Reasons; I even sang a solo, just to make sure folk would be glad I'm leaving! (I actually think it sounds pretty good; it suits my voice well.) Communion music was a trumpet solo and two more vocal solos. At the end of the service Pastor called my family forward for a parting blessing, along with another family who are leaving as well. I knew that might happen, so had asked my co-organist to play the last hymn and postlude. I slipped into the front row of the congregation and cried through that hymn; my friend Deanna brought my darling Lillian over to me, which helped a lot.

There was a reception afterwards. I cut line to admire the cake so they would start cutting it, and then circulated, chatting with folks for a long time. There was very brief speechifying, and a table with really delightful, thoughtful gifts and lots of cards.

It really was exactly the way I wanted it to be-- still hard, but the best possible ending to my time at CLC. And I go back in 3 weeks to play for a wedding, so it didn't feel terribly final.
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Did You Hear the Mountains Tremble? Arr. Tornquist, played by Charles A.

Beautiful Savior, arr. Faber, played by Kristen Plourde

10,000 Reasons, arr. Tornquist, played by Madeleine Plourde

In Christ Alone, arr. Tornquist, played by Carleton Plourde

In Church, Tchaikovsky, played by Elizabeth Croll.

First hymn: He Is Exalted, let by HFH I would like music printed, please! Will supply an insert if necessary.

In place of the Gradual:

Bwana Mungu Nashangaa Kabisa (How Great Thou Art, #??? verse 1 and 2) sung in Swahili by Feza and Lillian Felekeni.

Second Hymn: Lead Me, Guide Me (#???) Dick Guest, Saxophone; Ray Vega, Trumpet

Offertory: 10,000 Reasons Myrin/Redman Sung by Cookie Vega and chorus; Sign Language by Laura Scott


God So Loved the World Stainer Sung by Nancy Snyder

Ode 40 ???? Played by Mia Maxson and Steve Taylor.

Deck Thyself, My Soul, With Gladness Merkel Ray Vega, Trumpet

Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) Rice Sung by Cookie Vega

Last hymn-- Pastor has this, I don't have it home! Played by Luther Gutknecht

Postlude-- ?? Played by Luther Gutknect. Please get info from him!
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Addison County Gospel Choir singing my setting of Rock of Ages. They ignored my dynamics, and the pianist took a few liberties, but it was wonderful to hear it sung!

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What has happened in the past few days:

Finished the paperwork for the house sale-- we are officially in contract. House inspection. Discovered (independently) that kitchen sink drain was leaking. Had realtor tell buyers we knew about it and were fixing it. Had it fixed. Found it still leaking. Had it fixed again. Got inspection report today; work to be done but no deal-stoppers.

Meanwhile, finished preparation, and played the D minor today. It went well-- not perfect, but not at all embarrassing. Had a BIG crowd in church, and reasonable silence while I played for once (I had actually requested it, via a bulletin announcement last week. More goodbyes, people who won't be around next week.

Taking tomorrow off from practice, as I have spent the last few days feeling like my head was about to explode. I'll take a walk, and work on cleaning and packing. Tuesday I'll head down to NYwith whatever I can get into the truck; hubby and I can spend the evening figuring out how to handle the next month! Wednesday morning I'll visit my new church, and then stop by hubby's company picnic before heading back to Vermont

Closing is currently scheduled for August 29, and I think it may actually happen on time.


Aug. 1st, 2014 08:29 pm
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Giant pipe left over from the refit of the hydroelectric plant just downriver from my house.
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Not professional, not note-perfect, but I'm pretty pleased-- especially considering that I learned it with no help.


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So, last Wednesday we got an offer on the house, but it was terrible-- we would almost have lost money. We sent back a rather high counter offer, and really expected to hear no more. Much to our surprise, last night we got another counter offer, somewhat better.

My husband ran up a spreadsheet, and we actually sent back two different offers. They came out almost exactly the same on our end, but required different amounts of cash up front from the buyers. And we shocked our realtor by telling her to add a personal note-- that we would leave them our riding lawn mower.

This morning she phoned us again, utterly shocked. They took one of the offers... "the lawnmower did it!" Which makes the second time that riding mower has closed the deal. Seven years ago, when faced with a counter offer that was just a bit more than we wanted to spend, we jokingly asked if the sellers would throw in the lawn mower, since otherwise we'd have to buy one right away. Our realtor shared that, and they agreed, and that's how we ended up here!


Jul. 26th, 2014 11:09 pm
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My own audition/interview processes, and one described by a friend in a comment today, have me pondering the process. I've auditioned for church musician positions 4 times (I got one job without any audition), and only one of those processes has made sense (CLC, my current church; Delmar came close).

Nearly all churches are looking for someone versatile-- able to play both piano and organ, in a variety of styles. What have they asked me to prepare? ONE organ piece, ONE hymn, sometimes ONE piano piece. CLC didn't care about piano or multiple styles-- Bach on the organ was enough. In all three other auditions, they asked for only one organ piece and one hymn, and Faith also asked for a piano piece. (I gently insisted on playing two organ pieces at each of my auditions this summer.)

And then there's sightreading. Is sightreading really a part of an organist's job? Possibly reading a basic hymn, if the church likes to do spontaneous hymn sings. But one of my auditions, and the one my friend shared, involved being asked to sightread extremely complex material-- in my case an accompaniment to a choir anthem, with crazy meter and multiple key changes. The only reason for asking me to sightread such a thing as part of my job would be that someone failed to prepare adequately, either me or a director. (At my advice, CLC sent a likely-unfamiliar bit of liturgy to candidates a week ahead of the audition, a much more reasonable test.) Rev. P. at Faith did ask me to sightread, but she was specifically testing my willingness and ability to work with a particular style. Sightreading is crazy stressful, and I doubt if most committees learn much by forcing someone to attempt to sightread something complex.

What would make more sense to me? Inviting candidates to prepare a 10 to 20 minute program (depending on the level of the job) of pieces or excerpts that best demonstrate their skills; ask them to prepare one or two specific hymns; and perhaps sightreading of a basic hymn, in an easy key and common meter.


Jul. 25th, 2014 09:37 pm
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I was waiting in line for a haircut this morning. I had already turned my phone down, so after a bit I checked it, and there was a voicemail message from my contact at Just Right Presby. There was still someone ahead of me so I slipped out and returned his call. After the opening greetings, he said "I'd like to offer you a job!" I said "oh, please do!" and he laid out the details-- about 20% more than I'm making now, 5 Sundays off per year. I accepted on the spot, having already decided that this was best for me and my family.

Things that make me especially happy:

Being a Presbyterian again, after 30 years a Methodist and nearly 6 years serving Lutherans.
A genuine choir, a dozen folk capable of singing in 4 parts, even willing to attempt a cappella.
12 hours later, I've gotten 'hello' emails from the pastor and 2 committee heads.
The title is Minister of Music-- a title I've actually never held.

I've emailed Too Big Lutheran telling them I'm withdrawing my application, and phoned Too Small Methodist. That was hard; they don't have another candidate, and there's a lot I found appealing about them. In fact, I even said that if there's any way I can help with some of the outreach ideas Rev. P. has without stepping on the toes of whoever they hire, I would love to do so.

I got it!

Jul. 25th, 2014 12:28 pm
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Just Right Presbyterian called this morning with an offer, and I accepted on the spot; I start September 1. Can't stop smiling. More later!
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