If you’re me, here’s the best remedy for a travel-heavy, smog-ridden trip to the Orient: spend a week on the coast of Maine.
The Pierre Monteux School is very much my spiritual home and I couldn’t have asked for a better week as Composer-in-Residence. I narrated “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to a packed house of little kids and later in the week I conducted the premiere of my newest work, “Acadia Fanfare” (give it a listen above!), and the orchestra sounded marvelous and the weather was beautiful and I got to see all my old friends and make new ones and just live life the way it ought to be lived.
Then there’s the fact that I got to stay at my friend Roberta’s house on Flander’s Bay, but I beg you not to go telling anyone that it’s the greatest place on earth. The outdoor hot tub, the Steinway B, the view from the breakfast nook – are those things great? Sure. But the best part is Roberta, who is old school all the way, raised on a hard-scrabble potato farm in central Maine during the Depression, and who grinds her own whole wheat flour and bakes her own bread and raises her own berries and makes her own jam and feeds them to me for breakfast every. single. day.
She needlepoints like a champ and raises award-winning gardens. At 4:00, she watches Dr. Phil. At 5:00, she plays bridge (online). At 6:00, it’s the news, and at 7:00, we convene for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
And this is where things get really special between Robert and me, because if you’re a trivia person, Jeopardy! is not an entertainment, it’s a performance, a weird kind of suggestive karaoke, and watching Jeopardy! actually requires an additional audience for the viewing experience to be complete.
And oh my god is Roberta the best audience in the world! She’s legitimately impressed by every answer I get correct and she tells me that I need to Go On This Program! and every time she says it she makes it sound like she legitimately just had this notion for the first time and she really means it.
Good food and gorgeous views are one thing, but a 30-minute flow of emotional validation is another thing altogether. Hope you guys like the new piece.