Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Retiring From Ministry

Over the years, I have worn many hats: classical music, broadcasting, banking, government, politics, serving on non-profit boards, ministry, etc. I have made a decision to retire from ministry this year. It has been a privilege to be an officiant at multiple weddings, funerals and baptisms over the past 15 years. I now look forward to a quiet life, with the exception of my presence on social media.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Common Sense Gun Laws Needed

Gun violence has become an out-of-control epidemic. Defunding police departments is not the way to go. Police are currently stretched to the limit. Each shooting requires a rapid response, and lengthy investigations are needed when suspects are not immediately identified.

I propose a six-step plan toward ending escalating violence that threatens every community across America: 1.) Increase the number of counselors in our nation's schools. (Addressing violent tendencies early is important.); 2.) Increase the size of community service bureaus within police departments to meet with individuals/families and address neighborhood safety concerns; 3.) Implement a nationwide ban of assault rifles, including stiff fines and jail sentences for violations of the ban; 4.) Increase the level of investigations done by the FBI and the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms to stop the flow of illegal gun trafficking. (Trafficking illegal guns across state lines is a federal offense.) 5.) Continue to monitor the level of lead paint in older homes. (There is a proven correlation between the presence of lead in the brain and violent tendencies.); 6.) Write letters to members of the House and Senate, urging common-sense gun laws that don't infringe upon the 2nd Amendment. (It is doubtful GOP members of the House or Senate will consider any gun laws, but giving up on legislation is not an option when lives are at risk.).
Sadly, gun violence has always been present in the U.S. However, the present numbers are unprecedented. It is almost impossible for the U.S. to be a positive influence in the world when there is so much violence on our streets. We must do better as a society.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Received Ancestry DNA Results

I received my Ancestry DNA results today. I am 50% European Jewish, 32% Irish Catholic, 7% Norwegian, 5% English, 4% Scottish, and 2% Swedish. I have over 1,000 cousins worldwide to explore. I already knew which part of Europe my paternal ancestors lived. However, I never knew until now which part of Ireland most of my maternal ancestors resided (Munster Province, Ireland, which included the counties of Clare, Limerick & Tipperary).

I wrote an extensive family history for my relatives a few years ago. I will now have other avenues to explore.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

What I Would Do If I Could Travel Back In Time

I have always been intrigued with the idea of time-travel, which Albert Einstein thought was possible. If I could travel back fifty-four years, I would hit a restart button and correct mistakes I made in my late teens and twenties. Here are the changes I would make if it were possible:

If I could return to the fall of 1967, I would work harder on my studies at the Eastman School of Music. My ambition was to become a symphony orchestra conductor. However, I made the mistake of hanging out at bars designed for college crowds when I should have been practicing my instruments. As I look back, I remain appreciative that two of my professors at Eastman saw my conducting potential, namely Milford Fargo and Donald Hunsberger. (Dr. Hunsberger enrolled me in a graduate conducting course, even though I was an undergraduate.) So, my advice to my younger self would be, "stay out of bars and study hard, or your musical career will vanish."
As I moved onto my twenties, minus a musical career, I wasn't sure where I would venture next. I started exploring alternative paths, but was thwarted by an ill-fated relationship when I was 28. This particular person was convinced I would never amount to anything, and demeaned me at every opportunity. So, if I could travel back, I would avoid that relationship and the pitfalls the eventual breakup caused.
Fortunately, I was able to eventually enjoy success in such areas as broadcasting, banking, government, and ministry, as well as receiving a B.A. in Humanities and two graduate degrees in theology and ministry. My musical ambitions never came to fruition. However, having served on performing arts boards, and having been board president for the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, I at least returned to music at the administrative end.
The lesson I can pass on from all of this, now that I am in my seventies, is to follow your passions minus distractions whenever possible. It is also advisable to have a Plan B, in case Plan A doesn't work out. By the way, I am still intrigued with time travel. It would be an interesting ride.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020


I was reminded today that it has been close to five years since I have posted any writings to this blog.  My New Year resolution for 2020 is to get back to writing.  In the meantime, I continue to post regular comments on my Facebook page.

Happy New Year to All!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Challenge of Remaining Vibrant in the Arts Community

Dear Blog Visitors:

Since word got out that my 2-year term as president of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra came to an end, I have been gratified and honored by offers I have received from various arts organizations to join their boards. As much as I appreciate these offers, I am looking forward to some fun and relaxation, at least for a few months.
I am very pleased that the Rochester Chamber Orchestra will continue under a new board. It has been part of the Rochester community for 52 years, and despite the challenges arts organizations face today, this is a first-class professional orchestra deserving of a new life.
These are indeed challenging times for arts organizations, not only in the Rochester community, but throughout the country as well. With government subsidies and private grants shrinking, new ways must be found to sustain various non-profit organizations that provide audiences with classical music, dance, opera, staged plays, contemporary genres, etc.
I can attest to the fact that it is difficult for an individual arts organization to survive in today's economy. The past two years have amounted to a full-time job without pay, as I attempted to keep one organization alive. It may become necessary in the not-to-distant future for all local arts entities to seek a strategy such as merging under a large umbrella organization, whereby resources can be pooled accordingly.
Classical music remains as an important part of my fabric. I cherish memories of playing instruments and singing in high school, my two years at the Eastman School of Music, playing as principal trumpet with the Brighton Symphony Orchestra, singing with the Greece Choral Society, etc., and my latest two-year venture as president and treasurer of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. My hope is that the arts will continue to thrive in the Rochester community and beyond, despite the challenges.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Perfect Time for Vatican III

On this Christmas Day, I am delighted that Pope Francis has chosen the occasion to focus on the need for change in the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy. He is also rightly focusing on what has gone wrong in recent decades and he has drawn attention to the fact that what we are witnessing within the ranks of the church hierarchy is much different than the ministries Jesus tried to model for us.
I spent twenty years of my life working with Catholic reformers, trying to bring change to a church embroiled in several scandals during the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. One of my biggest hopes for 2015 is that Pope Francis will convene Vatican III. It has been 52 years since the Vatican II council, and much has changed since then. When Pope John XXIII announced to the world that he was convening Vatican II, he stated: "It is time to open the windows to let some fresh air in." It has been rightly argued that succeeding popes squashed what could have been several decades of reform. Pope Francis recognizes this. At age 78, it would be the perfect time for him to convene a council, ensuring that all voices are heard.
I am no longer active in the reform movement. (It required a lot of travel and expense.) However, I continue to hope that new voices will be a stimulus for change. I am also delighted that Pope Francis has successfully related the message that Roman Catholicism can no longer operate in a vacuum and the church cannot truly call itself inclusive until all have a place at the table.
Merry Christmas to all.