Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's in the Book now


My friend Jon, former bass player with the New York Philharmonic comes in to talk about his ongoing Very Young Composers’ project working with young people, now in 8 countries. The work in Finland with it’s strong civic commitment to music education is going extremely well. But most of our talk is about El Sistema in Venezuela. A program where music is a door to social change,transformation,  producing musicians like Gustavo Dudamel, now music director  of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Founded by Jose Antonio Abreu, known as el viejo....the old man, it's a somewhat awkward combination of Freirian educational theory and a rigorous classics driven discipline. Jon has worked with them on the  idea of opening to their own culture’s music, not in a folkloric way, but as material, inspiration, for new creation. When I tell Jon about Zeljko’s dream project, he smiles and says I’ve had three of them: to be a good musician, to be a composer myself, and now to help others write the music that is inside them. 

Jon is excited by what he sees happening here.

My meeting with my intern Kimberley this week focuses, as it has to, on the upcoming advance screening of Zeljko’s movie. Steven joins us as we divide up assignments, plot out a strategy to get the word out. Karen comes in, sees we are meeting, and goes to the chapel to play instead. I hear her music coming from there. 

The rest of this day will go to my efforts to prepare a report for our meeting with Presbytery people tomorrow.  It still feels like trying to play poker with an empty hand. But Jamie is keeping the conversation going with Space Works and helps me think the whole report through. I find a way to start with the positive and build from there.  

Still, it takes until early evening to finish. Danielle hanging in until we’re done. As I head  to the copy shop, Boxer Mike waves from a street corner. The prophet is there with his woven basket as I leave. I’ve got copies, covers. Ready.

Today is Yom Kippur. Holiest day of the Jewish year. The Day of Atonement.  Neighbors are fasting. The book is closing. If I only knew what fate was sealed for another year.


Hope is there when I get to the church with coffee and is preparing the table. Teddy looks in to see if we’ve got everything we need. And we need a few more lights on. Next door, Gary Greengrass is happy to contribute a dozen mixed bagels to the cause.

Soon our friends from Presbytery arrive. And this iteration, they do feel like friends. They ask hard questions, for sure. Make us focus on what is needed. But always while seeking  to be supportive and wanting our vision of ministry  to succeed. Talking about our disappointments is hard, but necessary. It does show how close we were, the cause for the delays. And that we immediately jumped back in. That it’s the timing that’s off. And that Jamie is on board to handle the real estate part of this and also keep the money reality in front of us.Her involvement seriously adds to our credibility. The meeting takes most of the morning. 

Martin comes in as we’re breaking up and I introduce him. I had explained that their presence has added to our life. We need to meet, but he’s got to get to the theatre. 

Trying to wrap things up with Danielle. Marc wants me to check something out related to recording my sermons. I go down to his workshop. Tell him I’ve got to hustle because I’d won tickets to the opening gala for the Philharmonic. Who am I going with? Didn’t have time to ask anyone. So I invite Marc to meet me there. Itzahk Perlman on the program. Got to run. 

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