I woke up at 4:30 am today. That is very unlikely for this night owl. I was jazzed up. Literally.
A couple months ago I received an email from an organization in my area – the East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC). I had gone to one of their “come get to know us” meetings November of last year and am now on their email list. In the subject line was written “Grant Opportunity.” At that time, I enjoyed detailed paperwork as much as I enjoyed a root canal.
I was about to delete the email when something weird happened. I had the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, one telling me I didn’t want to take the effort to apply and the other flapping its wings at me saying, “Stop being a lazy ass when it comes to paperwork and apply for it, DAMMIT!” When an angel cusses, I figure I better at least look into it. So I did. And I received a grant to compose jazz music.
I have never studied any formal jazz theory, but apparently my work sample of a piece I had recorded a while back was quality enough for the ECRAC. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the two editing jobs to put the grant together was the clincher – all thanks to an employee whose part of his job description at ECRAC is to nitpick at every word and every number on a proposal before submitting it.
We’re all creatures of habit, and doing something we’ve never done before always comes with trepidation, or in my case, boredom with paperwork. What was interesting was I put in a lot more time than I ever thought I would bother to make the grant application as perfect as it could be. I’m known to do the same when I’m writing a musical composition, or authoring a book. Also, I’ve only written a handful of jazz pieces and have never taken much time to step outside the basic music theory box. One would have guessed I’d have stuck with a genre of music with which I was familiar. Nope – crazy ol’ me decided to spread my wings and meet the challenges of Cm7+9th and swinging eighth notes.
The ECRAC also made me feel that what I do as an artist is important enough that their organization – and the Minnesota tax payers – should invest in me. That means all of you in this state will own a piece of my work. I have much to live up to, lest you haunt me for not being a good steward of your tax dollars. You, in turn, will have the joy of knowing those 4:30 am wake-up calls hearing music in my head will become the norm for a while. One can’t schedule inspiration, unfortunately.
In the spring of next year I’ll be giving a concert here in the East Central Region of the work I’ve composed as well as jazz arrangements of other artists’ work. So stay tuned (no pun intended) to hear a few details along the way, some sound bites of music I’ll be sharing, and when the performance will take place.
For now, sit back, and enjoy…