Friday, November 14, 2008

AMS/SMT 2008: Nashville, TN

Alright, I guess it is my turn for not-so-much-live blogging from AMS. Now that I've made my public service announcement, recovered from two hours on the tarmac at Washington-Dulles, and have caught up on some sleep, I can offer a few thoughts and highlights.

Like Drew, I got there early (Wednesday), but alas, unlike Drew, did not meet with Rich Crawford. I ventured out to the streets of Nashville for dinner, alone and in conference attire, then turned right back around and ate at the hotel. Having been raised in Los Angeles, I've learned to trust my instincts. Something about being alone, sans cowboy boots and jeans, made me feel rather conspicuous. I will give the hotel restaurant props for their excellent hospitality.

Thursday morning I waited not-so-patiently for the registration desk to open so that I could obtain my name tag and bag, absolute necessities to complete my conference ensemble. I spoke with Al Hipkins who was really on top of things (enough so to suggest that we probably didn't need room for 100 people for the Haydn Society Meeting and I should let him know...). Then after text messaging my roommate (who was in Memphis enjoying the Civil Rights Museum), I plopped myself down in a chair at Starbucks and tried to look busy. I read through my program and programmed all the sessions I wanted to/had-the-best-of-intentions to attend into my PDA/superphone, and ordered another latte.

Thursday Afternoon
I ran into W. Dean Sutcfliffe and asked if he would announce (at the Haydn Session) that the time and place for the Haydn Society meeting were incorrect in the program. I went to the Haydn session at 2, made myself useful by helping pass out handouts (I had to do something secretarial), and settled in. I enjoyed all the papers, especially Elaine Sisman's. I mused upon how many opportunities one has to look at anatomical drawings in a musicology session (Sarah Day O'Connell's paper) and thoroughly enjoyed Peter Hoyt's offerings of English prints of clerics with windmills on their heads (yes, still in the Haydn session). I did wish to clone myself so that I could have been in the Messiaen session at the same time.

I joyfully greeted my roommate (safely arrived from Memphis) and we headed to the opening reception which resembled a swap meet with drinks. I scored a drink ticket from my wonderful chair, and proceeded to chat with my grad school cohorts. It was a strange feeling as four of us are now "Drs." and we all have some sort of employment.

Friday morning I missed the Convent Music session (sorry!) to go hear Michael Cuthbert and Giovanni Zanovello both give extraordinary papers at the "Discovering Repertories of Italian Sacred Music." My presence at a Med/Ren session did earn me the anticipated remark about my presence at a Med/Ren session, but I didn't mind this time. I did feel it was unfair to have Giovanni's paper on musical repertories of the Santissima Annunziata convent at the same time as the other "convent" session, but decided that unlike me, most people probably do not attend those sessions because of a strange fascination with nuns.

I hopped over to the Instrumental Eccentricities session to see my former grad school colleague Ed Johnson give a very fine paper on "The Death and Second Life of the Harpsichord." In addition, Ed also gets the award for best conference handout (this needs to be added to the awards handed out at the business meeting).

Things I missed with a high degree of guilt and/or dismay:

  • Drew's paper (at least I missed it for another American music topic, but still...)
  • Samantha Bassler's presentation (Scholars with Disabilities)
  • More of a chance to chat with Elissa
  • "From Broadway to the Concert Stage" session
  • "Sacred or Profane? Popular Music and Religion in the United States" session
  • The recognition of Ryan's Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship (GO RYAN!)---I did go to the business meeting but left right after all the AMS-50 presentations. I'm still digesting the triumphal fanfare that opened the meeting.
  • "Political Polarities in the '30s" session (met the fate of many a Sunday session for me)
  • Not seeing the 10-15 people to whom I said, "Let's catch up in Nashville!" HAH! Right.

Other Highlights:

  • Coffee with Steve Fisher
  • A successful Haydn Society of North America business meeting
  • Late evenings at the bar with friends and colleagues
  • People-watching in the lobby/bar
  • A chance to celebrate Bill Prizer's birthday and Festschrift!!
  • An extravagant and glorious birthday dinner with my undergrad mentor and his wife, and my dear friend/roomie
  • The Norton reception and chatting with Steve Hoge

I will save my letter to United Airlines regarding my Washington-Dulles experience for another post.


John Michael De Marco said...

Sorry we didn't get to connect this time around in the Music City!

PMG said...

How did we once again fail to hang out at AMS?!


Mostly Musicology, Teaching, and a bit of Miscellanea