April 28, 2020 - University of Illinois - Chicago (Zoom) 

My first online Odyssey performance (in March, shortly after the nationwide coronavirus shutdown) was… 

Eventful. 

I wrote about it here for the wonderful Sententiae Antiquae website. 

So more than a month later as I embarked upon my second full online Odyssey performance, for a group of myth students at UIC, I was… excited but a little wary as to what virtual monsters might lurk this time around. 

My wariness turned out to be misplaced: this second performance went off without a hitch. 

I felt more…

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February 25, 2020 - Northern Illinois University 

My Odyssey is an incredibly effective vehicle for an examination and appreciation of the most human of instruments, the voice. 

I previously wrote about the Glenn Hansard quote “The voice just shows up” and the sentiment I expressed in that piece has only grown stronger in the 60 or so Odyssey shows I’ve sung since. 

In many ways, the 24 songs I sing in 2020 as a 42 year old are the same as those I wrote and began to try to sing as a 24 year old in 2001. 

The keys of the songs are the same. The order of the…

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February 21, 2020: Casper College Humanities Festival, Wyoming 

After three days in Texas and four in Hawaii, I awoke as my plane landed in… Denver, Colorado. 

Talk about Odyssean travel routing. 

I checked my phone and noted that it read 80 degrees colder than the last time I looked as my flight departed Honolulu the night before: 3 degrees on the ground in the Mountain West winter. 

It was just after 6:00 am local time on a Thursday morning, a week since I left home in Chicago. 

I collected my rental car, thankful that there was a Dunkin Donuts essentially inside the…

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February 16-19, 2020: University of Hawaii and Punahou 

The influential philosopher Φέρις βυέλληρ once said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” 

Doing my Odyssey performance as much as I do, traveling a much as I do, working as hard at music as I do, it’s easy to forget to stop and look around and appreciate how much I’ve accomplished and how much I get to do as a part of this wild journey to bring Odysseus’ story to modern audiences. 

Part of this mentality is that stopping and recognizing success even…

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February 13-15, 2020: Austin College, UT-Arlington, TJCL Convention 

My first Odyssey performance took place in my parents’ living room on March 17, 2002. 

My 300th Odyssey performance took place in Arlington, Texas, in a lovely parlor-style room in the University of Texas-Arlington library, on February 14, 2020. 

In some sense it was very much like the first 299 performances in that I talked for a bit, played my 35 minutes of music, and then led a discussion with the audience about Odysseus and his story. 

But in another sense, as milestones often are, it felt like…

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November 18, 2019 - Pomfret School, Connecticut 

It's a brisk rainy fall Monday morning as I pull onto the campus of Pomfret School, a small (mostly) boarding high school in eastern Connecticut. 

I spent the previous night in Providence, Rhode Island, exploring a city I'd only briefly visited (in 2016 for a performance at Brown) and drove the 45 minutes northwest through a setting indistinguishable from rural Ohio.

My contact, a genial English teacher, pulls up in a Volvo and he and I hit it off immediately.  I'll be performing for his class of about a…

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October 15, 2019 - Northern Illinois University 

For my first semester of college at UW-Madison, prior to succumbing to the Siren song of Classics, I was an intending psychology major. 

The sum total of this dalliance was two classes: Intro to Psych and The Psychology of Human Emotion.

What I remember of these classes is fleeting: I remember giggling incessantly with my roommate about the term "Skinner Box." I remember all the girls seemed to have a crush on the professor who taught both classes (or at least the girl I had a crush on did).  

And I vaguely…

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September 30, 2019 - Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

"The journey is the people you meet along the way," said the septuagenarian gentlemen wearing leather driving gloves as he drove me in a black Lincoln from the airport to my hotel in the Pittsburgh University district on an unseasonably warm late-September Monday morning.

We were talking animatedly about life, the universe, and everything, really connecting over, among other things, his Chicago roots and military service in the Vietnam War era.

I looked around to see if I was on some weird Academic Candid…

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September 25, 2019 - University of Illinois - Chicago 

This year I've been obsessed with a book called Effortless Mastery by a pianist named Kenny Werner, in which the author writes about applying simple mediative principles in musical practice and performance as typified by this quote: "The effort it takes for you to perform music equals the distance between you and mastery."

This book has helped me breakthrough some sticking points on both the guitar and voice and I think as a consequence I've been performing the Odyssey better and with much more freedom…

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July 27, 28, and 29, 2019 - The National Junior Classical League Convention, Fargo, North Dakota 

To read Homer is to be humbled again and again by its unique brilliance.

No matter how many times you've encountered the lines "Sing, Goddess, of the anger of Achilles" or "Sing, Muse, of a man of many turns," you can be sure that each time you start these stories, you will discover something profound, moving, and true, something that you haven't seen during previous readings.

Often times you feel amazed that a piece of beauty has been sitting there the entire time and you've only just noticed it on your…

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