Graduate School Orientation

Yesterday was new student orientation for my graduate program at NDM. The day proved to be a lot more tiring than I anticipated.

The official start time for the event was 8:00am… on a SATURDAY! They were smart enough to serve coffee and a continental style breakfast and didn’t really start official event activities until 9:00am. I picked up a folder, my name badge, my parking sticker, and then went to get some coffee and pastries. This gave me time to nibble, review the schedule, and take in my group of fellow students.

This particular orientation was for their College of Adult Undergraduate Students, and other Graduate Students such as myself. I think I may have been only a bit above the average age, as it seemed to swing between late 20s and mid 50s. I didn’t really notice it at first, but at one point I came to the realization that there were many more ladies than gentlemen. This really didn’t come as a shock, given that NDM has been historically and predominately a college for women. Since my brain had slipped into a mode of analyzing demographics, the final observation was that it was much more ethnically diverse, which was nice to see.

Shortly before 9:00am, they corralled us into the lecture hall. After the welcome and opening remarks, there was a presentation of the school’s history and some history for The School Sisters of Notre Dame. I actually started to tear up a bit when they had all of us stand to recite NDM’s Honor Code:

With a keen sense of responsibility, I accept this symbol of my entrance into the world of scholarship.
And I give this pledge of my purpose to wear it worthily.
I shall try to follow all truth.
I shall try to see all beauty.
I shall try to be all goodness.
And thus to come to that eternal wisdom,
which is the word of God.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly religious, but I do think of myself as a spiritual person. We’ll leave it at that for the moment, and just say that the experience of reciting that aloud with all my fellow students was moving.

On the amusing side of the spectrum, we had some excitement after our scheduled 15 minute break. The lovely lady from the library got no more than 45 seconds into her presentation on Library Services when the fire alarm went off. We all looked around at each other and the presentation staff for a few moments before coming to the conclusion that it was not a scheduled drill. Everyone stood up and, in a very orderly fashion, stepped out the nearest exits. I ended up in a back parking lot with the group of students who exited out the front side door, and found myself next to a chap who looked like a fellow geek and had a name badge that said he was also a graduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences section. After just standing there for a few moments, I decided to just break the ice and said something like, “Well, this is one way of giving new students a chance to bond and have a communal experience.” It led to some general fun chit-chat with another student joining us, who I will simply describe as a fellow geek who happened to be a gal. After about 8-10 minutes the fire truck pulled up right next to us, and so we talked about which buttons, levers, or wheels were the ones we were most tempted to go over and push/pull/turn. One of the funner moments was my exchange with the female student in our little trio:

Me: “So what is your program?”
Her: “Communications.”
Me: “What?”
Her: “Communications.”
Me: “I’m sorry, what was that?”

She caught on quickly, and the other chap chimed up with, “Oh, I hope I have a class with you.”

After the 30 or so minutes it took the firemen to determine that it was a false alarm, we wandered back into the lecture hall. I speculated that the library presentation might get shortened to, “There’s a library. We have books. Thank you.” This actually would have been just fine for me, as I had visited the library the week before. They did do some streamlining of the last 2 presentations. Then we broke off into groups, picked up our nice box lunches that were provided to us, and were taken on a brief campus tour. I had already visited campus twice, so this was mostly review.

On previous visits, I found an awesome spot on campus in LeClerc Hall just outside the music department. This is where I chose to sit and eat my box lunch before heading home. So I leave you with the picture I took of the window in this stairwell area that will hopefully show why it is a nice, quiet, contemplative, and now favorite spot.


I imagine I may find myself some moments to sit and eat, read, or study there in the future.

The Year So Far…

So in my post at the beginning of the year, I reflected on the challenges of most of 2012 and my desire to have a much better 2013. Despite some recent bumps in the road, this year has gone well and looking at the Fall ahead, things are really set to finish out nicely. I feel like this coming November will be a key month. I will have been back in my house for a year and other things will be in place that should allow me to feel more in control and fully recovered from my most challenging life segment to-date. Maybe I should just call it my “Lost and Dark” year, although it’ll be more like 14 months.

A Superhero at McDonogh School
Working on A Superhero at McDonogh School in April was a wonderfully awesome experience. Jon Waller‘s music was fantastic, the kids were great, and the musicians in the pit were amazing. I’m not sure when, or if, I’ll have a chance again to work with such an incredible and dedicated group of people. Having the opportunity to conduct a 19-piece pit orchestra including 10 professionals is a rare opportunity.

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Summer Shows
Right on the heels of A Superhero came the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company summer shows of Antony & Cleopatra and Taming of the Shrew. I was honored to have original songs performed in each production based on some of Shakespeare’s adapted text. This now means that I have 4 songs based on Shakespeare and it’s a project I intend to continue for CSC productions. The next Shakespeare coming up is Merry Wives of Windsor, so I need to start scoping out the text for ideas of what to use for a song. I also provided some direction and guidance for the live songs in the shows and sound design for Antony & Cleopatra. Here’s a fun (but apologetically SHAKY) video I recorded at the closing performance:

Back to School!!
I’m very excited to begin my graduate study on September 4th. I will be working on my Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at Notre Dame of Maryland University. My first two classes are NPM-501: Strategic Planning in the Nonprofit Sector; and NPM-510: Management and Leadership in Nonprofits. I hope to finish in 2 years, and halfway through the program I will earn a postgraduate certificate. In the spirit of the overall graduate school experience, I intend to find out about their Concert Choir and theater group to see if I might be able to participate in some capacity. It would be nice to write or arrange something for the choir, or act or help out with a production. Finding the time will be the key challenge. I have already made contact with one person in the music department there and it was a good start to finding out more.

Home Life
I have some housemates that moved in to Invercauld recently. They are a young couple and friends/colleagues of mine from the theater world. We all share a pretty comparable fun and laid-back kind of vibe/attitude, they needed a new home, and I needed the financial advantage of sharing living expenses. There are always the usual concerns of living with friends, and I find myself a little out of my element in the mature, responsible, landlord role. But having that awareness and understanding of the concern is also key in preventing any conflict or issues, and the confidence is there from both sides. Truly the beginning of a noteworthy chapter of life.

Music Projects
I started trying to work on a YouTube video project. Unfortunately the scale was a little too big for me to accomplish with the resources at my disposal. I need a more robust video editing capability. I will still post something before the end of the year, but I will likely scale it down. I’m slowly starting to play more again after a bit of a down time these past couple months. Right now, I’m plucking away at some Scott Joplin rags. Some I’ve worked on before, and a couple new ones. If there’s any kind of full CD of pieces I think I would get into, it would be this. Perhaps an album just called, “Scott plays Scott.” Seems to have a nice ring to it.

Employment and Income
So far the job at Howard Community College has been relatively stable. I am also still teaching on the side. I have another job opportunity I hope to hear more about by the end of the week. I still have the goal of having just ONE full-time job with benefits, but until then I just have to continue to putter away at making a living the various ways I can.

Here’s to life being better, a productive and wonderful closing third-of-the-year to 2013, and an exciting and noteworthy 2014 ahead!

Long Overdue Web Page Facelift

Now that the two Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Summer shows have opened, I found myself with a little extra time and managed to squeeze in some efforts on the web page. I was way behind in updating the version of WordPress I was using, and also needed to do some general tweaking before that could happen. I also took the time to switch to a different overall theme/look for the page. This one is more friendly and adaptable to looking at the page from mobile devices.

I’ve also simplified a few things, and have some more playing around to do on here.

Feedback is always welcome.



30 Day Video Game Challenge – Days 26 – 30

This was a fun project and exercise to do. I hope people found it amusing, especially any fellow video gaming types.

Day 26 – Best voice acting.
I’m going with a game that just really took me by surprise with the voice acting. This is difficult to do, because I can usually pick out a voice pretty well. So the game in question is XIII for Playstation 2. I had borrowed it from a friend and wasn’t expecting a whole lot. But I got into the story and the voice work and stylized comic-book style sucked me in. There was one character in particular, a general, where I immediately heard the voice and knew I should know who it is. I played the game for a while, and it still just never came to me, but I knew I recognized it. Eventually I gave up and did some online research and… What the? ADAM WEST!!!! Duh… And I totally didn’t pick up that the title character was David Duchovny.

Day 27 – Most epic scene ever.
Many of the WoW cinematics are really great. However, this one really sticks out as being in the epic category. This was the opening cinematic for the release of Wrath of the Lich King.

Day 28 – Favorite game developer.
I’m going with Activision Blizzard. Having the Activision part in there harkens back to some of those Atari 2600 games I fondly remember, like Kaboom! in particular. And WoW, SC2, and Diablo III have been what I’ve been playing recently so it makes sense for this choice now.

Day 29 – A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.
A friend told me about this game called Freedom Force.

Freedom Force

Freedom Force

I remember my first thought being that the main character was coming across as having all kinds of extra cheese. But it was supposed to have that golden age comic book feel, so once I settled into embracing that I very much enjoyed the game. The way they introduced the characters was quite nifty. And customizing superheroes was fun. And let’s face it, there’s a lot to be said for being able to tear up a street light and use it as a club!

Day 30 – Your favorite game of all time.
After some pondering I’ve decided to go with the good old coin-op game Tron.

Even the look of the machine with that glowing pistol-grip joystick, spin knob, and black light really made it stand out from other games.



It was basically 4 games in one, but of course it was really all about the light cycles, right? Add the uber-nerdy romanticism with the tie-in to the movie and this just floated to the top as my favorite. When I win the lottery I’ll buy one and put it in the basement!

And as a reminder, here’s where to go to get the full list if you’d care to take the challenge yourself:

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Days 21 – 25

Day 21 – Game with the best story.
I’m dipping back into my (hopefully undisputable) Old School Video Gamer roots for this one and going with a wonderful game I played on my Commodore 64 back in the late 80s: Wasteland.

The reason this really sticks out for me in terms of story is that it was one of the first games out there where what you did in the game was permanent. If you killed some NPC in the game, well… guess what? They were DEAD. And if maybe they would have been helpful later… oh well! You killed ’em! None of this respawning thing. Once you realize this is the case in a game, it always makes for a more interesting journey and story, right?

There is now a Wasteland 2 in development, so I’m eager to check it out!

Day 22 – A game sequel which disappointed you.
Master of Orion III.

Master of Orion 3

Master of Orion 3

Master of Orion II was so awesome. It was right in my favorite genre as a turn-based strategy game. It was a whole fly around space and conquer entire solar systems thing, and a create awesome spaceships thing. It was a science fiction nerd micromanager’s dream come true. And then Master of Orion III came along and wiped away that sense of control and just felt so boring to play. “Okay, I’ll send my fleet over there to fight but can’t really specifically control how they do battle…” *snore*

Day 23 – Game you think had the best graphics or art style.
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.



I played this before playing WoW. The size of this world amazed me. And I think they pulled off having a world that was more real, and gritty, and (for lack of a better way to describe it) less cartoony than WoW. I found the whole world to be gorgeous, and the unique-ness of all the NPC’s was great. I also liked the connections certain towns had based on architecture and such. The ability to interact with the world and objects around was quite robust. There was even a connection for certain pieces of armor to the factions and cultures they came from. I haven’t played any in the series since, but very much want to at some point.

Day 24 – Favorite classic game.
Adventure for Atari 2600. When being a little square weilding a 12-pixel sword was the coolest thing in the universe!



Day 25 – A game you plan on playing.
Star Trek Online.

Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online

I really want to check it out. But they don’t support Mac… Bummer. I may decide to get a PC laptop for graduate school in the fall (with my student loan funds), so that might give me a chance to try some of those PC based games I’ve been missing out on.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Days 16 – 20

Day 16 – Game with the best cut scenes.

I’m going to go with Starcraft II. This is one of my favorite cut scenes. Make sure you go full screen!

Day 17 – Favorite antagonist.

At first I couldn’t think of any that really stood out for me, so I was just going to be lame and go with Donkey Kong and his never-ending supply of barrels. However, after further pondering I decided that a better choice is Festergut.



Something about fighting a big blob of a dude who farts and vomits on you (and 9 to 24 of your raid-mates) makes him a more mature and sophisticated choice for this day… *snort*

Day 18 – Favorite protagonist.

Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil (2 and 4).



Good with a gun and with the moves despite being thrown into an impossible situation. Fantastic hair. What more do I have to say?

Day 19 – Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in.
Myst! Although I have a fondness for The Channelwood Age and would love to live in a tree house, I’m just going to go with the island in general.



A place all to myself with a library, puzzles everywhere, and access to other worlds and ages that can be created just by writing about them? Yes, please!

Day 20 – Favorite genre.
I’m a big turn-based strategy nerd. Since I’ve already mentioned the Civilizaion series, I decided to hilight another favorite: Caesar III.

Caesar III

Caesar III

I also remember the original SimCity just fascinating me. (Back when the cars were just little tiny black rectangles moving around!) So if anyone has thoughts and suggestions on other games in the genre (or real-time strategy), then I’m interested to hear them.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Days 11 – 15

Day 11 – Gaming system of choice.

My Mac.

Mac Pro

Mac Pro

I don’t end up with as many game choices, but what I do have tends to be pretty awesome.

Day 12 – A game everyone should play.

I had trouble coming up with a choice here. But I’m going to go with Civilization.

Civilization 4

Civ 4

Pretty much any in the series. (I actually still haven’t played Civ V or any of the Civ IV expansions yet!) I’m a big turn-based (or real time) strategy game kinda guy. I settled into suggesting everyone should play this for a few reasons. One doesn’t need to win by warfare. It requires you to think, plan ahead, manage resources, and adapt to what you can’t change. It’s the kind of game that, hopefully, connects you with history and the development of mankind in a broad and possibly humbling way.

Day 13 – A game you’ve played more than five times.

I’m basically just going to translate this into the game I’ve played the most. I have to go with World of Warcraft.

WoW Logo

WoW Logo

I’ve definitely not played it as much since about last summer, but I started playing in April of 2008. I haven’t even chosen to get the latest patch yet since my playing has been pretty light as of late.

Day 14 – Current (or most recent) gaming wallpaper.

This is actually from about 9 months ago, but it is the most recent gaming wallpaper.

Flying Machine WoW Desktop

Flying Machine WoW Desktop

My favorite toon around this time was my gnome, engineer, arcane mage, Zappore. I was flying around in his helicopter a lot, and this is one of my favorite zones in Northrend. I think it just appeals to my rustic, lumberjack psyche…. Or something.

Day 15 – Post a screenshot from the game you’re playing right now.

This is from Starcraft II.


SC2 Battlecruisers Screenshot

Getting a screenshot proved trickier than I thought. It doesn’t seem to save the screenshots where the blizzard website says it is supposed to save. Annoying… So I went another route to capture, but I had to do it from the replay.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Days 06 – 10

Day 6 – Most annoying character.

I’m going to go with the Murlocs in World of Warcraft.



Of course, the gurgling call these weird fish dudes make is supposed to be annoying. Strangely enough there is an upper level quest later where you rescue a bunch of baby murlocs from cages. And the little baby versions and gurgles is still at the top of my list of cutest quests in the game. Go figure!

Day 7 – Favorite game couple.

So I know these two aren’t really a couple in the context that is implied. However, I really wanted to mention these characters somewhere and this seemed like the best place to do so. Toejam & Earl! Jammin’!

Toejam & Earl

Toejam & Earl

Day 8 – Best soundtrack.
Katamari Damacy!
(I shall let the music speak for itself… feel free to listen to some of the other tracks out there!)

Day 9 – Saddest game scene.
Death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII

(A popular choice, I’m sure…)

Day 10 – Best gameplay.



You get to be a big monster and destroy buildings. Not to mention all the wonderful little things this game throws in as you attack helicopters and tanks and, yes, eat people to get your health back. What’s not to love?!

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Days 01 – 05

So a friend started doing this 30 Day Video Game Challenge thing on Facebook, and I felt moved to give it a try myself. Here’s the initial source reference he shared with me:

I’ve had such fun with it so far and felt that I’d written some fun stuff while sharing that I decided to cross-post it to the blog here in groups of 5 days per post. And I figured it would be nice to throw stuff up here and make me feel like I’m actually still keeping up with the blog!

Day 1 – Very first video game.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen… PONG! You can’t get much more OLD SK00L than that, D00D…! Bow to me.,678,BA.html

Day 2 – Your favorite character.

Dirk the Daring from Dragon’s Lair.

Dirk The Daring

Dirk the Daring

One of the first truly expressive characters in the world of video games… he was a cartoon, after all! I put many a quarter into this machine at the Student Union at UMCP.

Day 3 – A game that is underrated.

I’m going for an interesting choice here: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600.

ET Video Game

ET Video Game

Now I’m not trying to say this game is any good. Far from it. What I believe to be underrated about it was that it was just so incredibly bad that it ended up having a fairly large impact on the whole video gaming thing. It is probably the most infamous video game ever. It’s not even a “so bad it is good” kinda thing, either. It’s just awful. But powerfully and underratedly so…

Day 4 – Your guilty pleasure game.

DragonVale on my iPhone.



My nephew got me hooked on this game last Summer. It is nice in that it’s now only something I check in on 1-3 times during the day. It’s basically a dragon zoo where you breed different dragons. If anyone starts playing because of this, I’ll send you a gem! I am musicgeekscott in game center.

Day 5 – Game character you feel you are most like (or wish you were).

This one was particularly challenging for me. However, I kept coming back to Barret Wallace from Final Fantasy.


Barret from Final Fantasy

Once you get past the initial surface image (of a badass) you discover a character with a pretty big heart. He took on a paternal role he completely didn’t need to adopt. He uses his strengths and abilities to make the world a better place. He made the best of a bad event in his life, and HOLY CRAP HIS HAND IS A FREAKING GATLING GUN! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for Days 06-10 coming soon!

Hello, 2013!

Overall my 2012 was a pretty challenging year. Okay, screw being diplomatic. 2012 sucked… It sucked ass. But I’m also a don’t-dwell-on-the-crap-and-move-on kinda chap. So I shall endeavour to focus on the actual good parts of 2012 and then talk for a bit about the ways that I intend for 2013 to not suck ass.

I’ll start a bit with where I left off in that last blog post. (Made the pathetically long time of 9 months ago!)


Playing Cosme McMoon in Souvenir at Vagabond Players in the summer was certainly a highlight of my artistic life to-date. It let me combine my loves of acting, piano, and singing in a single place. This was also a very substantial role. In both acts, the lights came up with me onstage and I never left it until the damn things came down again at the end of each act. The words “Exit Cosme” just weren’t in this script! (Thank goodness I never had to pee!) Several of the songs will now always be a part of repertoire and I intend to do some recordings this year now that I’ve put a little distance between me and the show and can look at them in that new context. Some reviews include:, and, where I somehow managed to be nominated in the Best Actor / Non-Equity category and captured a whopping 2% of the vote (last I checked… and thanks to the couple of friends who took pity on me…)

Richard III

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Fall “movable” production of Richard III was also an incredibly rewarding experience. But then again, everything that I do with this company is rewarding and I hope to continue the work and that relationship. They have some crazy exciting things happening with creating a new theatre space in downtown Baltimore!

New Job at Howard Community College

At the end of August I began working as a Financial Aid Information Analyst at Howard Community College. I originally started at HCC as an on-call tutor for music and math in Fall of 2011. This new job has been going very well, and I have learned an amazing amount of information about Financial Aid just in these first 4 or so months.

The New (/Old) Home

I moved back into my row home on the SW outskirts of Baltimore at the beginning of November. The entire process of making this happen is one of the things that was truly a nightmare about my 2012. However, now that I’m back here and reunited with the cats and things are returning to a sense of stability, it almost feels like I’ve never left.

2012 in Review

Outlined this way makes it seem like 2012 wasn’t so bad after all. I did this on purpose for myself in an effort to be optimistic. Don’t ask about the other stuff. It’s all best left as things to process and learn from and will now be allowed to fade slowly to a slight background noise of sometimes-remembered discontent. Or better yet, to make jokes about….

Bring it on, 2013!

A Superhero

I am very pleased to be working as Music Director and Conductor for the McDonogh School production of the world premier performance of an original musical by Jonathan Waller called A Superhero!! Production meetings and work on this project began years ago. I came into the mix myself as early as the very beginning of 2012. I was there through Fall auditions and now we are full swing into rehearsals. Performances will be on the weekend of April 12th, 13th, and 14th. Watch for more on this! But also go to Jon’s web page, go to the show web page, listen to some of the fantastic demos on both those sites, or check it out on Facebook!

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

I have been contracted as Music Director for CSC‘s Two Gentlemen of Verona. This is going to be a fun and light project. There are a few songs that will be performed by the players during the show, all of whom are solid musicians that know what they are doing. But it will be nice to help gently nudge how these songs will fit into the context of the show. I’m also looking forward to the entire next season for CSC, and where and how I may end up being utilized. I feel quite lucky to have now been actively involved in 7 out of the last 8 productions! (Don’t tell them this, but if they asked me to sweep the floor I’d probably do it…)

Graduate School

I have decided to start working on a Masters Degree this year. It has settled into a good time to make this happen. I won’t mention any specifics just yet because I’m only now in the early stages of putting together the application and making plans. I shall only say that the degree will NOT be in music. I’m looking at beginning classes in the Fall with the idea that this will leave my Summer free to take on some more artistic projects. I’m unsure of how I will be able to balance the graduate work with my job AND my artistic life. I’m hoping to have a strong flurry of fun work and projects over the summer, in case I have to put all that segment of my life on hold while working on the degree.

Looking for Love?

Not really. My luck and experiences in this area, particularly recent years, is best described as few and far between and always lacking parity. One-directional interest is no fun in either direction. But more and more I worry that if I don’t try and devote some energy to this (typically) important part of a well-balanced life, that I’m going to turn into a grumpy old fart shaking his cane at the neighborhood kids and yelling at them to get off his lawn. I almost did that the other day, actually, so thus the concern. Fortunately my life is such that I very rarely ever feel lonely anyway.

Recordings and Videos

I’m excited to have some great projects in mind for recording audio tracks or making videos to post on my YouTube channel. Hopefully a few more mainstream market-and-sell tracks, and also some fun and goofy projects just for fun.

Possible Recital Idea

I’m not entirely sure I can pull it off this year. But I have gotten it in my head to do a piano recital entirely of music from the Sci/Fi and Fantasy genre. Music from films, TV, and video games. I know for sure I already have about 35 or so minutes of music that would fit into that kind of program, so I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too difficult to put together about an hour of music for a recital. I’m going to keep this as a casual project for now.

Employment and Income

I’m hoping by the end of the year to secure a more permanent file-time position at HCC. In the meantime, my 30-hour a week job there and my part-time work teaching at The Baltimore Homeschool Community Center are providing me with what I need to survive in my on-my-own-again life. I feel like I’ve found a nice balance, actually. I’m still getting the satisfaction of working and earning income in the field for which I devoted a copious amount of my time, energy, and money. I’m also in a more lucrative job with the promise of more and which will still allow me to explore my creative life even if I do need to turn it into a full-time position.

Okay, I’m Finished… Wait, am I finished…? … …Yes, I’m finished.

As usual, I think of writing all this mess out as mostly for myself, but thanks for staying with me if you managed to do so. I’m basically trying to go out on a limb as far as making certain kinds of commitments to the cosmos in an effort to help motivate them into existence. Feel free to take me to task on some of these things I’ve talked about doing. Especially if you think it sounds like something you’d like to hear or see… This helps anyone in the creative world!