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Sabbatical 2016: Houston, Costa Rica, Santa Barbara

Sabbatical 2016: Houston, Costa Rica, Santa Barbara
Sunday, August 21, 2016 James Walker

This short summer sabbatical has been fruitful in many ways: energizing, relaxing, challenging and restorative. Highlights have been hearing my colleague Weicheng Zhao play brilliantly at the June National A.G.O. finals in Houston and a two-​week trip to Costa Rica in July.

Language immersion experiences are intense. Sometimes it feels like hitting a wall: “I can’t possibly cram any more information into this tired brain!” And yet, I persevered and made some progress at the Intercultura Spanish School in Heredia.

My Spanish language skills have incrementally improved, and my driving reflexes have become razor-​sharp! Driving in cities and out in the country of Costa Rica was a blast, with lots of deep breathing.

For most of August, I have been happily at home, able to practice, read and relax.

I spent a week in my All Saints office, mid-​August, to make final choral repertoire decisions for the fall/​winter and to monitor the applications for the Coventry Choir soprano section leader/​soloist position. We received a large number of applications for this important position, from which I have chosen nine top candidates to audition in late August.

I will complete this sabbatical time with a short trip up the coast, culminating in a retreat at the Center for Spiritual Renewal at La Casa de Maria in the hills of Santa Barbara, ready to return energetically to work on September 6.

I am deeply grateful for this restorative time.