My grandmother, my father’s mother, had a nonchalant and serious way of saying “homeplace.” She was talking about the family farm where she lived for more than five decades, where members of the Brubaker family had lived for a century. It wasn’t grand. But conveyed in her pronunciation of that word was both great comfort and resignation. I don’t suppose I understand it. There were entire winter months when she stayed there, never venturing off … [Read more...]

Iowa was the name of the Star


I'm from Iowa. Born there. Grew up there. Studied music there. I wasn't a prodigy. I took lessons from the lady down the street. (Her name was Joy Lord.) In high school, I played concertos with several Iowa orchestras. In a big city, I wouldn't have had the opportunity. I wasn't playing all of Chopin's etudes. Nothing like that. Being there gave me a chance, to dream bigger than I was. What is musical talent? It is an ability to hear and … [Read more...]