December 2010 - The Christmas Pageant at Denton State Supported Living Center (formerly
Denton State School) was an interesting event. I was asked to direct the music in order that
Heather, the music therapist, could concentrate on the choir, the handbells, and other details.
Long-time resident Robert Cox was cast as Joseph. He moved his wheelchair with his feet and
delivered the lines with an electronic speech simulator. This was a "big deal" for him - something
that he had probably wanted to do before but could not communicate his desires effectively.
Most of the very capable musicians who play this annual "gig" are people I have known for
several years (like 1970?). It is like a little family reunion whenever we do this. The musical score
that I wrote for the first pageant way back when still holds up pretty well today. It is not terribly
sophisticated but probably some of my best writing.
There was a big "shake up" in the music department at the university this month. Several faculty
members expressed no confidence in the Chair, Dr. James Chenevert. I did not share this
opinion, but the vote went in favor of seeking a replacement. The Dean handled it very
diplomatically, and Dr. Pam Youngblood - a very talented and well-respected member of the
faculty - was appointed to replace Dr. Jim - effective June 1, 2011. Jim will remain as a tenured
Professor in music theory.
My former colleague, Dr. Don Michel, moved to Florida in late November or early December to
be with his daughter. He somehow developed a mistrust of his son and daughter in law who live in
the area. I certainly felt that he was in no condition to make the move, but I did not voice my
concerns out of respect for his wishes in this matter. Don lived in Tallahassee for manly years
before moving to Texas, and I think he always considered it home - even though he was born in
The trip to Florida was a downhill experience. His health deteriorated further, and he passed
away on December 19. Don was a true friend who helped me greatly in my career. He was a
friendly person who was always ready to listen. I plan to continue the revision of our book, Music
Therapy in Principle and Practice and will do my best to make it something that would have
December 1979 - Katherine K. Davis lives in Concord, Massachusetts. She is 87 years young
and lives in a nursing home. Although born and raised in St.Joseph, Missouri, she spent the
greater part of her life teaching music in and around Boston and Philadelphia. Miss Davis is not
famous by U.S. standards, and hers is not a face the American public would recognize;
nevertheless, her contribution to our society will be remembered as long as we continue to
celebrate the birthday of our Lord, because included in the more than 800 songs and anthems that
she has written during her lifetime is the unforgettable piece of rare beauty and simplicity known
as The Little Drummer Boy.
When I was growing up my uncles got a big kick out of gag gifts. The one I remember most is a
photo of a businessman that ran regularly in the hometown newspaper. The man was good at his
trade, but good looking and photogenic he was not; so when someone opened a fancy package
that contained nothing except one of these portraits, we all had a good laugh to say the least.
In more recent years my brother in law and I passed a "roob-doob" set back and forth for several
Christmases until it was finally lost or thrown away. A "roob" is generally defined as someone who
has no personality of his own - only that which society has dictated to him. He is someone who
likes "French fried anything", and the set to which I refer is a matching necktie and handkerchief. It
is very fashionable - if you happen to be a "roob".
RHYME FOR OUR TIME
Under the spreading Christmas tree the presents were piled in formation -
waiting the coming of Christmas Day - testing imagination.
Big are the eyes of the small ones - as they try to guess.
Which is mine? Which is yours? Oh, what a beautiful mess!
Finally the day arrives; suspense can come to an end.
We gather 'round the tinsel tower and wait for the fun to begin.
An electronic game for brother, a bone that the dog can chew
Mama gets the perfume she wanted, but thought that nobody knew.
Sister gets new clothes for a doll that we swore we'd never buy;
and in case you haven't guessed by now, Daddy got socks and a tie.