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The Scarlet & Black

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Day in the Life: Professor John Rommereim

5:30 a.m. — Light alarm turns on – used in hopes of beating back SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

5:45 a.m. — Radio alarm starts playing Morning Edition. News of the migrants waiting at the Mexican border and Trump’s threat to “shut down the border permanently” gradually invades my consciousness.

6:15 a.m. — I get up and head downstairs to make breakfast. I say “Computer, play Iowa Public Radio News on Tune-in” to the machine in the kitchen. Listen to review of “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” as I make shakshuka. The onions, peppers, and crushed tomato with spice were cooked up yesterday. I spread the thick sauce on the pan, put four eggs on top, and cover it. Listen to disturbing stories of people made homeless by the Paradise fire as I wait for the eggs to turn white.

6:30 a.m. — Angela [Voos] and I eat our shakshuka, and answer each other’s question, “How did you sleep?” (not too well; I was obsessing about work things, and Angela’s back hurt).

6:45 a.m. — Shower etc.

7:00 a.m. — Iron a shirt, get dressed.

7:20 a.m. — Walk to work. It’s 10 degrees outside and the wind is kind of mean, but it’s sunny and when viewed in retrospect, the experience was refreshing. The 15-minute pedestrian commute is one of the best things about living in Grinnell.

7:40 a.m. — Arrive at work, get first of eight cups of decaf (for high blood pressure), write this log to procrastinate.

8:00 a.m. — Write practice quiz on modes for Introduction to Music Studies. Decaf coffee two and three consumed. Three steps at a time on the stairs as a micro-workout. Stretches against the wall to avoid hunchback as coffee brews.

10:00 a.m. — Teach Introduction to Music Studies Lab. We improvise tunes on the whiteboard. One of the students volunteers to teach the class a handy mnemonic device for remembering the seven modes. It takes a village.

11:00 a.m. — Decaf four, five, and six with rituals.

11:30 a.m. — Solo audition for “Considering Matthew Shepard.”

12:00 p.m. — Lunch at McNally’s. Grilled Reuben is tasty, with lots of cheese.

1:00 p.m. — Divide up Grinnell Singers into seven small groups for a movement of “Considering Matthew Shepard.” Worked on editing proof of flute duo piece sent from publisher.

2:00 p.m. — Teach second section of Music Studies Lab.

3:00 p.m. — Back to my office to prepare Grinnell Singers rehearsal plan. A panic sets in about a couple of tough movements we need to learn before our Dec. 9 concert.

4:15 p.m. — Grinnell Singers rehearsal. They work hard and get better. “Considering Matthew Shepard” is such a beautiful piece. It’s uplifting overall, but today we also had to work on the disturbing movement in which the choir takes on the role of the evil protesters from Westboro Baptist Church. Still, lots of gorgeous sounds from the choir. I have grateful thoughts.

5:45 p.m. — Quick solo audition after rehearsal.

6:00 p.m. — Dinner with Angela at Prairie Canary; feel guilty about going out to eat too much.

7:30 p.m. — Go over the bills and sign checks.

8:30 p.m. — Work on program notes for flute duo publication.

9:15 p.m. Heat up rice bags for bed.

Professor John Rommereim in his Bucksbaum office where he works between the various Music Studies Labs and auditions he runs.
Photo by Liz Paik
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