The Next Step in Our Musical Millennial’s Journey (Some Good News in a Crazy Time)

March 29, 2020

The Next Step in Our Musical Millennial’s Journey (Some Good News in a Crazy Time)


Missing major milestones is a casualty of COVID-19 for millions of people all over the world who are staying home to stay safe and keep from infecting others.

For us, as I noted in this post, the cancellations include our Musical Millennial’s senior jazz composition / piano recital, and his college graduation. There’s nothing life-threatening or even life-altering about missing milestones like these, but their cancellation will be remembered by my son for his entire life. These are little things when compared with the suffering and tragic events unfolding before us, but it’s OK to feel wistful about losing something meaningful that you’ve been looking forward to and will never have.

So it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut said in Slaughterhouse 5, so it goes. It’s a crazy time.

Good News for the Musical Millennial

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. It’s time to look forward to the next step in my son’s musical journey, and we got some very good news recently on that front.

Very, very good news.

The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music is providing a full scholarship for his graduate studies in Studio Jazz Writing (composition), along with a paid teaching assistance-ship. He will also be a Fellow at the Henry Mancini Institute.

I’m over the moon!!! Here’s Thomas’ announcement in a public post on Facebook:

I literally wept with joy when he called me a couple of weeks ago to tell me about this wonderful offer. Seeing your child stretch his wings and fly is a joy that almost can’t be described. I know you understand.

Henry Mancini Institute – Wow!!!

The Mancini Institute Fellowship part of this deal is the icing on the cake for me, friends. Henry Mancini’s music formed a large part of the soundtrack of my childhood, as my parents absolutely loved him and often had his albums in the stereo stack on weekends, turned up loud. I just realized – stacked LPs were an early version of a playlist! If you’re too young to remember LPs (albums) on a stackable record player turntable, here’s what that looks like, courtesy of Oak Tree Vintage.

Henry Mancini’s music was everywhere in the 60s and 70s; Wikipedia said it this way: “Songs with music by Mancini were staples of the easy listening genre from the 1960s to the 1980s.” He won 20 Grammy awards, and created dozens and dozens of fabulous movie scores, too, including The Pink Panther, Charade, Days of Wine and Roses, Hatari, Touch of Evil, 10, Victor Victoria and Breakfast at Tiffany’s…that one brought one of his 3 Academy Awards, for Moon River. Audrey Hepburn singing that song in the movie brings me to tears every time.

My parents would be so very proud that Thomas is going into this incredible organization that bears Henry Mancini’s name and was described by founder Jack Elliott as focusing on “the total professional development of the musician, combining such experiences as composing, arranging, and performing for motion pictures, jazz venues, chamber music, and other musical forms.” (All About Jazz, 2005). There’s a beautiful serendipity and interconnectedness to all of this that’s really hard to fathom, but easy to appreciate.

I’m proud, too, but more than that, I’m grateful. What a wonderful next step.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about all this as it unfolds starting in the fall, and I’ll be sure to share the recordings with you once they begin.

University of Miami and Henry Mancini Institute, here we come!

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