Work is...well...work. I'm working at Custom Music Company in Ferndale right now, repairing servicing, and shipping mostly tubas, but other stuff as well. I'm kind of the jack-of-all-trades here, doing everything from my prescribed duties, to designing and maintaining the web page, designing flyers and ads, doing inventory, changing light bulbs, polishing dust bunnies, you name it.
The hours are flexible enough and the pay's not bad. The working conditions vary depending who's here from day to day. The boss is old, crotchety and senile. Personifies every negative stereotype of every group he may represent. Thankfully, he's not around as much as he used to be. The secretary's a sweetheart, my immediate supervisor, the Master Technician, Kevin Powers is a joy to work with. I've learned more about instrument repair from him than I ever expected, and as I plan to be a band director, that knowledge will come in VERY handy!
I'm also doing my pre-student teaching (or 'practicum') right now at the Academy of the Americas in Detroit. The school's decrepit, the instruments (for the most part) are junk, and budget's virtually non-existent. However, the teacher I'm working with is FANTASTIC! She's smart, easy to talk to, and makes damned sure she gets every last drop out of what she's given to work with. It's kind of like working in a M*A*S*H unit - You're thrown into the worst of conditions and expected to make the best of it. It's given me a real perspective in my career and helped me remember why I love doing what I do. The spark of inspiration in a student’s eyes when they finally "get it". Not concerts, not festival ratings, but to get kids to appreciate and enjoy music. That's the pay-off.
My other love is singing with my barbershop ensembles (quartet and chorus). I had a bad cold last week and coughed myself hoarse. It's been about 4 days since the cold itself passed, but my voice is still MIA. Made performing the chorus's annual show this weekend REAL frustrating - like going to a relay race with a broken leg. But I put on my tux and stage makeup, did my choreography and stage presence material, and lip-synched the entire concert. I only pray my voice will come back in time to sing on the Dondero Alumni Pop Concert next Saturday, singing high tenor on "Longest Time" by Billy Joel with Alan Rutter, Jeremy Rugenstein, Ryan Parmenter and Jason Everett.
Okay, that's enough for now. More on the sorry state of my life and the ensuing grandeur to come later.