In search of "Standard"

Thanksgiving brings a time of preparation and reflection for most. When you are a musician, this calm before the storm is critical to surviving the month of Dec with its onslaught of emotion, opportunity and music, on top of music, on top of music. I read a lot of reviews these days, most are not about me thankfully, and as an artist I seek the affirmation of the critics, audiences, and beyond. In my book there are two ways to do it. In the first approach, I attempt to do everything as it has "always been done" just execute better, be better, more perfect. In the second, I embrace a sense of identity and passion verging on arrogance. With the confidence of a mature adult, I seek my own path and performance "within the rules" of course. Both of these approaches can be successful and indeed, a great artist must blend the two.

As we all continue into this new 21st century I propose that we use a new standard. We measure our art by the impact that it and our service to it has on all those involved. From the audience, to the artists, we must strive to make a difference in their world. That is the standard whether on the stage at Carnegie Hall or in the choir at Huguenot Road Baptist. The old concept of perfection is perhaps imperfect. We need to respond and lead our audiences, but not be totally subject to them or the critics. I understand my standard as a goal, but I will spend a lifetime pursuing it. Every day and every performance is an opportunity to explore and seek a balance of perfect tradition coupled with innovation and dynamic exploration.

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