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In Which Ryan Becomes The Answer To Life, The Universe, And Everything

December 2022 | 3:12


Koopa and Goomba remind you to explore all avenues of absorbing warmth, and to use whatever expressive qualities you see fit in the process.

What's Been Happening

Good news! In addition to recently turning 42, it’s drum corps audition season leading into conference season all while finishing lots of writing projects, so I don’t have time to do any long pontification this month. Hopefully your lives are all as full and fulfilling as mine and that I can see you all soon.

May your masks smell pleasant and your packages arrive without incident,


Chart O' The Month

allCallRidge View High School Wind Ensemble and World Percussion Ensemble
00:00 / 07:02

One of the more interesting writing projects I’ve had in the last couple years is this project for wind ensemble and world percussion ensemble. Commissioned by Ridge View High School in South Carolina, this was a unique opportunity to use some of my musical interests and experiences (extended large ensemble music, Afro-diasporic grooves) and put them all together in a way that let two very different musical ensembles play together and learn about each other.

Musically, the chart is based a lot on call and response as a musical device, and is slightly programmatic in that it feels to me like getting called to join a samba parade that then heads down the street to keep celebrating even after you’re heading home. The title is also an open-ended reference to the idea of being called to join something, or do good, or be included, and the joy in the music hopefully reflects that.

Huge thanks to Dustin King and Wesley Hipps for their work in making this project come together, and especially Wes for all the extra work developing the Brazilian percussion parts.

Epidendrum 'Pacific Sunset' x 'Pink Rabbit'.JPG

Look, Nature!

This picture is a tamarack from Beulah Bog, and while the leaves have all pretty much changed and fallen around here this picture still feels appropriately festive. It's also a plant which keeps my streak of not just picking the animal pictures alive.

Education Notes

One of the cool things my wife got me for my birthday was tickets to a book signing with hall of fame hockey player Marian Hossa for his autobiography. The whole experience was really cool and I’m still reading the book, but one of the big things he talks about that resonates with me is how he looked at opportunity versus guaranteed rewards.

In 2008 he was offered two different contracts; one for a ton of money to play with a team that wasn’t very good, and another for less but still a lot of money for a team that had traded for him and just went to the Stanley Cup final. After thinking about it, he had his agent reach out to a team that didn’t even contact him and signed a one year deal for less per year that either of the other two offers because it gave him a chance to play with a team that he thought would help him develop the way he needed to in order to become the best version of himself. Obviously he still made more money in that one year than I probably will in my entire life, but he passed up literally 10 times as much money because he believed his opportunity would be greater as a result. More importantly he put in the work to make sure he took advantage of that opportunity and it paid off with three championships and a hall of fame career (plus plenty of money on his next contract).

All this relates to education because of the inherent lessons; know what you want, believe in yourself, and put in the work to prove yourself right. Instant gratification is nice, but true opportunity is more valuable.

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