Thursday, September 10, 2009

If one blog is good, two must be better!

I just want to announce the recent of my new blog, Transforming Every Guest.

I talked to Dr. Hawn last term about wanting to develop my writing, and he suggested starting a blog. It’s just getting going, but I’m pretty excited about it. I made a Facebook group for people who want to follow the blog – people who are members of the group will get messaged when I post a new article. The group is also called “Transforming Every Guest”.

Here’s some more info about it!

This blog is a forum for me to develop and share ideas about the renewal of worship, especially as it pertains to the role of music in the life of the church. I am also interested in the participation of children and youth in worship – not in their capacity as the future of the church, but in their right to be vital members of its present. As a Toronto-born Presbyterian with musical interests that range from the liturgical use of Zimbabwean marimbas to the incorporation of improvisation, drama and storytelling in worship, I hope that I have some insight to share from my experience of and deep love for Christ's church. I also hope that my position of writing from the "true north, strong and free" will add a Canadian voice to the forum on vital worship, with a healthy side of self-deprecating humour.

I invite you to read this blog, consider my ideas, and respond with your own.

Back to Big D

David and I had a really great summer at home, and we were happy to pack up and fly back to Dallas in the middle of August. When we arrived back (to nice, steamy, feels-like-forty-degree weather) we got to work setting ourselves back up for life in Texas, and my second and final year as an MSM. Unfortunately one of David’s suitcases did not show up with the rest of our belongings at the airport, but we carried on and enjoyed subs from New York Sub up the street for a quick dinner.

As I checked in with my various Dallas people, they invariably asked me how it was to be back. When I responded (truthfully, I swear) that it was great to be back, they invariably shot back “that’s nice of you to say,” “oh come on,” or “don’t lie!” Apparently I exude a certain devotion to my home country that makes it hard to believe I like being in Texas. Or maybe the people down here really think I don’t like them...??

At any rate, it got me thinking that, as happy as I am to be back into the swing of things (or maybe the “clunk” of things – LOTS of reading this term!) I really did have a lovely time at home. Toronto is a great place to be! It was so nice to catch up with friends and loved ones who we’ve missed. And, with my parents away on an extended trip to Europe, I got the chance to play Music Director at Trafalgar Presbyterian, which I was very happy to do for four weeks this summer with the wonderful band members.

As a tribute to a great summer, here are some photo memories for your enjoyment.

David and I missed all the bike paths and lanes in Toronto while we were gone. We took the opportunity to revisit a lot of them - when the weather was good enough for it! Lots of rain and cool weather in Toronto over the summer, but I really tried not to complain beacuse I knew it was "a hundred degrees" in Dallas.

We visited the Music Garden, with design based on Bach's first Suite for Unaccompanied Cello. I had never been - it's a beautiful spot.

Beautiful flowers at the Music Garden.

We like to bike!

Anthousa came to visit us! We had a great time wandering around the Beaches, taking it easy, and cooking good food. We are going to miss Anthousa and Andrew while they are on their Great Australian Adventure - but we can't wait to hear all about it!

A big "must" for our time home - a trip to the Village Idiot Pub. Mmmm... nothing like pub food while sitting next to their big open windows with the street cars rolling by on Dundas. This was to cap off a GREAT visit to the shiny new AGO, gorgeously renovated with design by Frank Gehry. Torontonians, you need to go see the new building - it is so beautiful. And who ever gets tired of seeing that Emily Carr painting, anyway? National pride, my friends!

I got a new haircut too. Just in case you were interested. :)

Coming back after a year away made me realize that I really do love Toronto - not just because it's familiar but because I think it's a great place to live. David and I have some more adventures in the works after Dallas, but I hope we'll be able to build a home for ourselves in T.O. in the future.

Now that we’re back, it’s books, reading, assignments, and trying to keep up with life at First Presbyterian. For good measure this year, I’m also in the Meadows Chorale conducted by Dr. Elrod, which practices four times a week, and I’m assistant conducting the Seminary Singers. Our first Meadows Chorale performance is Carmina Burana this coming week. What an amazing work! I have never sung it before and it’s been a whirwind putting it together in less than two weeks. The Chorale is made up of master’s-level voice students... plus Hilary. Ha ha. The quality of singing and sight-reading is amazing. I’m really enjoying it and just trying not to sing too many wrong notes.

Lots of people told me when I was back that they've been reading my blog - thanks so much! That's always great to hear.

Wish me luck - it’s going to be a fun year!
P.S., we got the suitcase back the next day - apparently it just wanted to spend one more day in the greatest city there is. Oops, is my national pride showing? I'd better stop now.