I returned home from the Montreal Organ Festival full of beans.

What a stimulating 10 days it was, with hundreds of events including recitals, workshops, competitions, exhibits, tours, services, fabulous parties. With over 800 convention delegates from Canada, the USA and beyond, it was a great gathering of people all crazy about the amazing instrument we call the organ and the diverse musical galaxy that spins around it: choirs, congregations, clergy, instruments, entrepreneurs, artisans, composers, publishers, performers, educators, and big, beautiful buildings. Also contributing to the greatness was staying with my splendid hosts, who are also my splendid Montreal family : )

So that probably accounts for the fact that, when I got home, I started composing like a house on fire. That, and also the helpful fact that very splendid people asked me to wrote for them. In July I wrote a new motet for Father Scott Haynes and his Biretta Books publications at St John Cantius in Chicago.

Suddenly I was also writing a Requiem Mass for Ruben Valenzuela and his choir at All Souls Episcopal Church in San Diego California.

It was a flurry of inactivity. What I mean is, writing music in my little upstairs studio is a solitary, sedentary and sticky activity in a hot, humid Toronto summer. But I pulled through, thanks to Shawn and Dave and their Monday night dinners to give me sustenance, strength and support!

Now we are going to have a real holiday.
Friends from near and far have pooled resources and rented a stone farmhouse in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, complete with an olive grove and an outdoor pizza oven.

I have resolved that there is no composing to be done at all, no computer dilly dallying or any thought of any work related thing will be tolerated. Only carry-on luggage will be allowed. The only books opened will be fiction, or local history found on the ground, pure and simple. There will only be diversion, exercise and rest, observing nature, learning history, eating good food, card playing & listening to crickets.

If a creative thought threatens to enter my brain, I will push it out of my mind.

How do you keep your holiday? Can you ‘unplug’ from the work-a-day routine and refresh? Share your secrets!

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