|April, 2008 - I began April in a nice way - with a trip to Lenox, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire
Mountains for the conference of the New England region of the music therapy association
(www.musictherapy.org). My accommodations were excellent and the persons assembled for my
five hour presentation entitled "Useful Forms in Therapeutic Songwriting" were alert, enthusiastic,
and just what I needed to make it a wonderful experience.
There was some fellow there who was an "expert" in drum circles. I attended his circle in the
evening that was open to all participants, and I brought my trombone. He totally ignored me and
the trombone - perhaps because this instrument is not usually associated with drum circles. A
creative music therapist (which he was not) would have welcomed the diversity and found a way to
incorporate me in the activities. I did not raise my hand to get his attention, because I was seated
in a place that my presence was most evident. In the business of music therapy we can never
exclude or ignore anyone, regardless of the circumstances.
On the same day that I was in Lenox, a brass sextet performed my new piece that I call
"Antiphonal Variations". It was done outdoors at the university as part of the Arts Triangle Tour,
which we hope will become an annual event on campus. The organizer gave a positive report
following the event and indicated that the long range weather forecast for this date in 2009 was
very good. He did not say whether his information came from the computer or from the Farmer's
Almanac. In either case, my mind was relieved to know that we can hope for more of the same
On April 20 my longtime friend Lawson Ward passed away. He was a resident of the Denton
State School for his entire life - so deformed at birth that his parents made the decision to place
him there as an infant. Lawson was my teacher. In spite of his deformities and limitations he had
a spirit of joy and a keen interest in all things musical that was outstanding. As far as I could tell he
never felt out of place in any gathering. In later years a severe hearing loss made it difficult for him
to participate in music performances, and death was probably a relief from this prolonged silence.
The last weekend in April brought the annual Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. I enjoyed being a
part of four performances: (1) as a guest with Doc's Dixeland Band, (2) as director of the Denton
Bell Band (www.bellband.org), (3) as leader of Mister Joe & Friends, and (4) as a member of
April, 1980 - Texas dentists have gone bananas over the personalized license plates. One in
Houston has tags that say "TEETH". In Austin there's "A 2TH DR". In Del Rio we find the familiar
"SAY AHH", and in Abilene it's "PULL EM". I saw one the other day that could belong to a dentist
or might belong to one of my aunts, who is very fond of a certain game. It said "BRIDGE".
There's a new product on the market - actually, it's an old product that has made a comeback. It
looks, feels, and smells like a t-shirt, but there is no lettering or art work on the front or back. Only
one color is available - bright white. These rare items must be specially ordered; they are much
too uncommon to be found in stores.
The sign by the pond at Travis State School says, "FISHING FOR RESIDENTS ONLY". An
employee with an eye for the humorous told us we'd have to throw the little ones back.
RHYME FOR OUR TIME:
I used to believe in the dollar bill and the integrity of the state;
now all we have is super-inflation and the memory of Watergate.
I used to believe in Henry Ford and the "Wizard of Menlo Park";
now we're runnin' out of gasoline and worry about our city going dark.
I used to believe in great social dreams and the idea of work before fun;
now I wonder who'll be next to fall to a murderer's gun.
I still believe in the Holy Book, because it remains the same;
but I saw something just the other day that made me cry "for shame".
My cherished thoughts about loyalty were destroyed with a single stroke,
when I noticed the Dr. Pepper man drinking a can of Coke.