Nearly twenty years ago, my dear brother made my first Web site, which I sadly did not maintain over these many years. Enter Lisa Burgess and Blue Dog Web Design, right here in Pomfret, CT! Bravo, Lisa! Thank you for your patience, creativity and business savvy. I am very pleased.
Other thanks go out to:
- Jim Goodwin: Outdoor press photos
- Don Pike: Indoor press photos with and without Claudia Schmidt
- Mark Thayer: Recording Engineer extraordinaire, who helped me with my store mp3’s
For those of you who thought I fell off the planet around 2001, let me fill you in. From 2001-2010 I taught music 4 days a week at our local public school. I also continued doing school residencies through the Connecticut Commission on the Arts (now the Connecticut Office of the Arts), as well as occasional gigs as they came in. I also focused (along with my husband, Howie Bursen) on the raising up of our two daughters, Maya and Malana, who are now 20 and 23 and both going gangbusters! We are very proud of them both.
I loved my local job at our local school. I really had everything a music teacher could want: fabulous administrative support, great teaching staff, my own room with closets, an office, enthusiastic students and lots of Orff instruments! But when we had a change of administration due to the retirement of a beloved principal, the teaching philosophy and focus of the school changed in a way that made me seek other employment. I am currently working part-time at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley, MA. It is a long commute, but only 2 days a week, where I work with grades K-2. My second graders are currently composing a bi-lingual opera which they will perform for our community as well as in Boston, through the Boston Lyric Opera’s educational outreach program. We are all very excited! I am also a Master Teaching Artist through Connecticut’s HOT Schools program, and I am on the roster of Young Audiences of Connecticut, for residencies, keynotes, and professional development workshops.
The most recent change in my life involves my mother who passed away on March 2nd , four hours shy of her 85th birthday. Dying is a difficult job, requiring will and concentration. We are given no instructions on moving on. Mom had been asking to be left alone, and when we left, she died 20 minutes later, with grace and dignity. We are all deeply saddened and there is a hole where she once was. But I find that hole fills up with music, the gift she left each of us. I can never hear Ravel’s Boat on the Ocean or anything by Bach (especially his Italian Concerto) without thinking of her, remembering dancing under her grand piano when I was still small enough to do such things. She left us music and love. She left explicit instructions for her funeral, including specific hymns, songs and readings. When we put it all together, it was clear that her final message to us was that love trumps all and is the glue that holds us together. When times are hard, look for love and let it guide you.