Upcoming Performances

July 12, 8:30 pm Central European
Guest recitalist, Cathedral, Rieux-Volvestre, France

July 22, 7:00 pm Eastern
Petr Eben Windows with James Stokes, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Boone, N.C.

August 26, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Church of the Savior, Newland, N.C.

September 23, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Schantz organ 40th anniversary, Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, Va.

September 28, 7:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, Camp Hill, Penn.

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Answer me! Part 2: Responding in-kind

This is a bit of a rant, but honestly, I feel fine. This is based on past – not current – experiences:

Have you ever worked and slaved and …

1) spent lots of energy writing a

2) complete,

3) thorough,

4) fully explanatory,

5) passionate letter,

… only to get a one-line response to it (if any at all)?

And so next time around, you write a terse letter? And then you get a one-line response to that, asking for …

1) more energy,

2) completeness,

3) thoroughness,

4) explanation,

5) and passion?

You write a lot and get asked to pare it down. You summarize and get asked to clarify, magnify, explain, or provide more information. You answer a question and get told you didn’t answer the exact question asked. But when you answer the exact question asked, you are then asked for the extra information you already provided so eloquently in your original answer. Some people are never pleased. If Microsoft ever invents a way to reach through a computer and tweak someone's nose, the world will be a better place.

Having written lots of letters and explained myself in many ways to many people, this phenomenon has carried over into my speaking, as well. Sometimes I have trouble carrying on a conversation because I’m formulating the perfect sentence that will explain my thoughts in as few words as possible yet leave no room for question or interpretation. That is a tricky (and fully unnecessary) balance, and Freud would probably have a field day with it.

Those of you (or us) who play cat and mouse with one-line responses designed to make you look superior rather than help the other person, let’s re-learn and re-invoke that whole Do Unto Others thing. Every communiqué is important to its writer. No one composes their thoughts just to practice their typing! The writer doesn't have to know your reaction; most of the time, they just need your considered answer.

My rules:

Communiqués from students are always important. After all, I’m in the business of communicating with students.

Communiqués from family members are always important.

Communiqués from old friends are always important.

Communiqués from administration are (usually) important.

Everything else can wait.

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