I had packed a lot of activity into the trip that would take me from my current home base in Iowa to Pittsburgh, PA, via Illinois and Ohio. My plans changed from the very beginning when I decided to delay my departure from Sunday morning, May 14th, to Tuesday. This change meant that I had to miss the Renée Fleming/Evgeny Kissin recital in Chicago on Sunday., very much to my disappointment.
When I finally did get started on Tuesday morning, I loaded SB with a larger-than-usual suitcase to handle the clothes I thought I’d need for the ARSC conference and my time visiting family in the DC Metro area. I also had eight of the ten copies of my newly published book that its publisher had sent to me. I had already mailed books one and two to my eldest sister, to whom I had dedicated the book, and to one of my former voice teachers, whom I credit as being the person who introduced me to concert spirituals. While driving does mean I spend more time in transit than I would flying, I much prefer the freedom of movement I get and missing the potential body searches because the airport scanner rarely scans me properly.
Despite the tighter schedule, I was still able to visit one of my nieces in the Detroit area on Tuesday night and to have a face-to-face meeting with colleague Kathy Abromeit at Oberlin Conservatory’s library on Wednesday afternoon. I reached the conference site in Pittsburgh that evening, ordered dinner since I was too late to attend the schedule events that evening, and settled for the night.
Unfortunately, I currently have no pictures taken at the conference itself, not even of my presentation on the early recordings of concert spirituals composed by Erie, Pennsylvania’s Harry T. Burleigh. If there are any posted by conference organizers or attendees, I add them to this post. This was the second ARSC conference I’ve attended, and as I found attending the first one in Portland, OR, it was wonderful talking with recorded music collectors who shared my interest in African American music, even to the very narrow category of concert spirituals. For some reason, the nerves struck me pretty hard Friday night before my Saturday presentation. Fortunately, my talk went well despite that, and there was plenty of interchange with those who attended it. The conference ended that evening with an awards presentation. My book won’t be eligible for consideration for two years, and judging from the quality of the work produced by this year’s winners, the competition in 2025 will be quite stiff.
I scheduled a two-hour bus tour of Pittsburgh starting at 11 am. Thank goodness this gave me time to get a full night sleep before checking out of the hotel and reaching the pickup point for the tour. There was lots to see in that two hours, even though I didn’t attempt to climb the bus’ narrow, steep stairway to the better view of the open roof seating. Saturday had been rainy most of the day, so the comfortably sunny Sunday was a pleasure change. Despite this, I still took advantage of the storage on my phone and got lots of pictures. A few are below:
All of the photos from the day are available at http://singin1.com/piwigo/index.php?/category/pittsburgh-tour-june-2023. The map feature there provides info of where the photos were taken.
Time didn’t permit me to take advantage of the tourbus’ option to jump off and explore stops along the route since I wanted to be in the DMV before it got too late so that I could visit one of my brothers and his family’s home briefly before going down the Beltway to my eldest sister’s house where I would stay for the week. Instead, I treated myself to lunch of grilled salmon, mashed potatoes and green beans at the Cheesecake Factory near the bus pickup stop. The picture below doesn’t include the Red Velvet Cheesecake I ordered to go, which I munched on every time I got stuck in the traffic heading down the PA turnpike to the DMV.