February 8, 2010
TT: Reluctant to relocate
I've been too busy to write much about it lately, but for the past few weeks Mrs. T and I have been living in Winter Park, Florida, where I'm serving as a visiting scholar-in-residence at Rollins College's Winter Park Institute. My duties include giving public lectures, teaching a seminar in arts criticism, and popping up as often as possible in unexpected places. Last week, for instance, I sat in on a rehearsal of the splendid chorus of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, at which I sightread the bass part of the Mozart Requiem with rather more aplomb than my rustiness had led me to expect. I had even more fun giving a lecture about Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong that was accompanied by a seven-piece band of local jazzmen who tore up the joint. I've never been happier to have a show stolen out from under me!
I won't deny that the weather here was part of the draw--they tell me it's been snowing elsewhere in America--and so was the close proximity of Rollins College to Disney World. Mrs. T and I paid our first visit to Epcot Center last Sunday, accompanied by my brother and sister-in-law, who drove out from Smalltown, U.S.A., to spend the weekend with us. To wear short sleeves in February is no small thing for a New Yorker whose patience with cold weather is growing shorter with every passing year. But even if I had to pull on a sweater from time to time, I have no doubt that I'd still be enjoying myself. Not only is Rollins an exceedingly good school and Winter Park a beautiful town full of interesting people and excellent restaurants, but Florida, as I learned last year and rediscovered last month, is no less full of first-class theater. The only disappointing aspect of my stay here is that I've had to pack a bag and fly north most weekends to cover Broadway openings and peddle Pops.
All this came to pass because John Sinclair, an old college classmate of mine, is now the chairman of Rollins' music department and the artistic director of the Bach Festival. He lured me to Winter Park last March to give a lecture, and the experience was so mutually satisfactory that John's wife Gail, who runs the Winter Park Institute, asked if I'd like to come back the following year as a visiting scholar. I said yes in a heartbeat, not realizing that I'd still be up to my ears in Pops when January rolled around. Fortunately, we were able to reconcile most of the resulting schedule conflicts, and Mrs. T and I flew down to Florida a month ago.
Just when the fun is starting/Comes the time for parting. My tenure at the Winter Park Institute ends this week, and on Friday I head north to Lenox, Massachusetts, where I'll be seeing Shakespeare & Company's production of Dangerous Liaisons. I'm looking forward to my visit to Lenox very much, but less so to the consequent change in climate, and though I know that Mrs. T and I will be glad to return in due course to our cozy little apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I also know that we're going to miss what we've grown in the past few weeks to think of as our new home away from home.
Posted February 8, 2010 12:00 AM