Thursday, September 30, 2004

Good Things at Trinity!

Well, it’s great to see some positive things going on, for a change! (At Trinity, anyway.)

Things have definitely changed for the better in the last 1½ months or so since Casey Cantwell officially became OCM at Trinity. Things had already gotten much better since June when Tappe left, but now that Casey’s officially in the position I’m seeing an energy and optimism in the choir that I haven’t seen before. Case in point: A couple of weeks ago at our first Evensong we seemed to breeze right through the psalm (sung in Anglican chant, of course). Before we had always seemed so intimidated, so afraid we were going to make some fatal mistake. But at our last Evensong we probably sang the psalm better than we’ve sung it before. The choir is singing with more confidence and conviction these days. Casey makes efficient use of rehearsal time, and so on Sunday mornings we have been thoroughly rehearsed in that morning’s anthem(s).

We’re having fun, too! Just the fact that Eric Gibson is with us again has brought back a lot of joy. We’re not afraid to laugh & enjoy ourselves. Casey has indicated he’d like to see more informal choir get-togethers to foster the sense of community that we need. We’re getting to know one another again, which is good. Hopefully Casey will continue his New Year Day open house – he’s a wonderful cook. Another way he continues the Tom Matthews tradition – like Casey, Tom was a fantastic cook.

Most of all, it’s great to see folks returning to the choir who’ve been away. Before last night several folks had returned – and Rosie Halpin was back last night! Hooray! She was all smiles and clearly glad to be back. When folks return that’s always a morale boost.

We’ve got our scores for the Vivaldi Gloria, which we’ll be singing Christmas Eve. Plus, we’re doing Randall Thompson’s Alleluia – on All Saints Sunday, I believe. Peter Gehres, one of our high school Trinity choir members, and two girls in the St. Cecilia choir, are visiting Sunday School. classes and teaching the children about the music in our liturgy. Since we use the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, this fits in perfectly. Outside of the music department, we’ve started handing out loaves of bread to newcomers at Trinity. Connie Cronley has joined the staff as parish development coordinator, and she’s already making a huge difference – I was overjoyed to get an e-newsletter the other day!

Things are definitely looking up at Trinity!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

It’s time I wrote something, huh . . .

Well, things have been busy at work – both day job, and in my musical world! It does not appear things will let up any time soon.

I played a concert in Fayetteville with the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra on September 17 – this was a pops concert with Glen Campbell. Although I was never exactly a huge fan of Glen’s, it was nice to accompany him on many of the songs that were popular in my youth. He’s still in good voice, and he seems to be doing better since he’s gone into recovery for his drug dependency. His daughter, Debby, also sang a few numbers – she’s quite talented. Of course, I always enjoy my time in Fayetteville – beautiful scenery, lovely downtown area, and Fayetteville is a nice, progressive enclave with its mix of academicians (from the University of Arkansas) and artists (who come to Northwest Arkansas for the inspiration of the beautiful Ozarks).

Unfortunately, this is all I can write today. Have to get to choir practice – guess I just need to write a little bit today.

I am concerned about the elections – I hope the people of this country wake up before the Idiot Prince gets elected to a second term. I really don’t know that democracy in America will survive another four years of Dumbya. And I hope those people who are thinking of voting for Nader, or sitting out this election, because Kerry isn’t good enough for them think long and hard about whether they want to sit back & do nothing while Bush gets re-elected.

I’m doing a lot of praying . . . .

BTW, here’s a fun link: -- this cheers me up!

Friday, September 10, 2004

I need some answers . . . and some resolution.

OK . . . this is what has been hurting me for almost a year now.

Let me start by stating Stephen Tappe has no concern for the emotional well being of others. He is utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Folks at St. John's Cathedral in Denver need to be aware of this, before he hurts them, too. He is arrogant and unbelievably self-absorbed. The only time he cares for others is if they can boost his ego, or if he can use them to advance to a higher position or to satisfy his selfish desires. He makes a big pretense of being a Christian, of caring for other human beings, etc. He can certainly put on a good act. But, when he's asked to deliver the goods, he won't do it. And he will hurt other people in a calculating and deliberate manner to avoid putting himself on the line.

Believe it or not, I was once on good terms with this guy. About 1½ years ago I sent him an e-mail, expressing my disappointment with his reaction to the folding of the Tulsa Philharmonic. He responded to me, verbally, that "We need to talk." I thought better of it, told him to ignore what I had said, but he kept insisting for several months that we talk. He would not let the matter rest. Finally, at his insistence, not mine, I agreed to talk. He did all the talking. He spoke about his "ministry" (he didn't mention his ministry is highly selective and that he only ministers to those person he deems worthy), "can't we be friends," yada yada yada. He certainly put on a big act. He needs to be in theatre, not church work.

Well, we had another disagreement. I will admit I pushed the envelope, finally sending him a message stating "You say we're friends" and then I got a nasty, hateful e-mail from Stephen saying "Please do not consider me to be your friend." I was in tears the rest of the day. He later "apologized" (well, he thought it was an apology, but it was probably only because the rector told him to), but he never retracted that statement. In fact, he stated in his "apology" that he wasn't required to be friends with parishioners, wasn't in his job description, blah blah blah. Well, he made it very clear he was friends with other choir members-including running off with someone else's wife (not to mention the mother of two teenage boys)! My pain and resentment only grew over the ensuing months. No matter how hard I prayed, Stephen's heart was not softened, nor did I get any answers as to why he treated me the way he did. His last Sunday I caught up with him, and, choking back tears, said sarcastically: "Sorry you had to put up with me." In a very nasty and hateful tone of voice, he responded: "Apology accepted. I suppose I had something to do with this. Oh well. These things happen."

That memory still hurts terribly, that I didn't "measure up" as a human being in this person's eyes. I'm frankly relieved he's gone to another position, and I hope if he ever pulls a stunt like that in his new position, someone fires his ass. I shudder to think what horrible things he was saying about me to other staff and clergy.

The experience I had with the Stephen Tappe has both spiritually and emotionally damaged me. I've been praying and working hard to overcome this, but it still haunts me. I am hurt and bewildered as to what I did to deserve this, especially since this person refused to show any kind of remorse or acknowledge that he was directly responsible for the fallout, much less take responsibility for his actions.

As much as I try to let this go, I just can't. I've lost sleep over this. I will only get peace when I get answers as to what happened. I'm totally bewildered and still raw with hurt. I can't understand how someone so cruel, much less someone who has robbed two teenage boys of their mother, can remain in church work and be held up as a model of Christian behavior everyone should emulate.

In the meantime, I pray . . . it hasn't done any good so far. I hope it will, eventually. I'm at my wit's end.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Fall -- and the start of a new season

Well, fall is upon us! Tulsa Public Schools started yesterday . . . and the weather is lovely and fall-like.

Things are kicking back into gear at Trinity. Casey's already making a huge difference -- the atmosphere in choir rehearsals is quite relaxed, and it seems people are actually having fun. I'm starting to see folks drift back who had probably been alienated by Stephen Tappe. I even saw Bonnie Duncan in church Sunday, who I strongly suspect had been run off by Tappe. Wonder if she'll be coming back to the choir? I'd love to have her back -- not to mention that we could use another soprano! I'm sure Bonnie's heard the news about Casey, and knows Casey's reputation at both Trinity and Boston Avenue -- so she undoubtedly knows that Casey isn't into alienating or running of choristers. I know Casey would love to have her back.

Everyone -- everyone -- I've spoken to is thrilled that Casey got the nod. Bruce Schultz (the Philharmonic's principal hornist) even commented to me that Trinity did the right thing in choosing Casey: "Casey's truly a good person."

I agree. Casey has remarkable musical talents (both organ and choral conducting), spiritual/liturgical gifts, and the people skills needed to relate to the diverse constituency that is Trinity Parish. Casey's lately been treating us to organ improvisations for the postlude, which brings back fond memories of Tom Matthews letting loose on the organ.

Suffice it to say, I look forward to choir practice these days!