By Thomas J. Bourgeois
My last installment ended with news that operatic and art song composer Lori Laitman had earned a Grammy nomination for her contributions, as both writer and accompanist, to Stephen Powell’s American Composers at Play. Well, it turns out the hits keep coming! YouTube’s Melodious Heart Channel has selected her piano piece “Nocturne” as one of the ten most beautiful modern piano compositions by women. Lori provided important—and touching—context on the class Facebook page: “Around the same time I started composing songs, I wrote ‘Nocturne’ as a gift for my son James Rosenblum’s 12th birthday.” James, it’s worth observing, graduated Yale College in 2002, went on to Columbia Law School, and is now practicing law and continuing to pursue his avocation as a classical pianist. Kudos to Lori and the Laitman-Rosenblum musical clan!
Jim Rogers files this update from Chicago, where he works as chief legal officer at Cars.com: “Still haven’t figured out how to retire, but Cars.com is a lot of fun and Chicago is a great place to live—and COVID has enabled me to work remotely from time to time, making possible some trips back east to see friends, family, and even classmates.” As Jim’s note does not specify whom among our number he has visited, I invite all of you willing to self-identify as Jim’s “known associates” on the East Coast to come forward. You know where to find me. (See above.)
For the last 11 years, Serena Fox has been an attending physician on the night shift in the intensive care units of New York City’s Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. She is also, as many of you know, an accomplished poet. Among the poems in her 2009 self-published collection, appropriately entitled Night Shift, is “The Angio,” which has been chosen for inclusion in a new anthology, The Healer’s Burden: Stories and Poems of Professional Grief. She delivered a reading of the poem at a January 14 virtual book launch hosted by Iowa City’s Prairie Lights Book Store. Writing to our Circletime online group moderated by Jackie Austin, Serena noted, “This anthology opens a conversation at a time when health-care workers are under tremendous strain. The book includes essays and poems from contributors of various disciplines in health care, curated by editors Melissa Fournier and Gina Pribaz.” For more information or to order a copy, go to www.healersburden.com. Congratulations, Serena, and hats off to the healing work you and your comrades provide at this critically challenging time!
That’s it for now. If I am to write more for you, dear classmates, you need to write more to me. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.