Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Successfully Defended!

On Monday, November 16, I successfully defended my dissertation, Senior Adult Music Learning, Motivation, and Meaning Construction in Two New Horizons Ensembles.  I feel a sense of relief knowing that the end is in sight.  I brought home from Arizona a stack of edits from each member of my dissertation committee, so I still have a lot of work ahead of me before I print the final document and send it to the publisher for binding and microfilming.  No football for me this Thanksgiving (well, maybe the BYU/Utah game)!

A few hours before leaving for Arizona, I printed my dissertation, punched holes in the side, and put it in a three ring binder.  I then place the document on my desk and stared in disbelief and said, "Did I write all of that!"  Even more sobering, realized that my life for the last two and a half years was distilled in an inch and a half to two inch pile of paper.  All the notes, interview recordings, transcripts, videos, and pictures squeezed into 230 or so pages.  They say writing a qualitative dissertation is like making syrup, "You harvest 10 gallons of sap to get a pint of syrup."

Everyone has been so kind with words of congratulations and support.  I have been pretty low key at school, only giving my students tidbits why I have been missing school lately.  When I returned to school, most of my older students congratulated me, wondering what to call me now:  Sam ? (I allow my high school students to address me by my first name),  Dr. Sam?, Dr. Tsugawa?, Doc?  I specified the protocol:  "You may continue to call me 'Sam' and Mr. Tsugawa.  You can call me Dr. Tsugawa or Dr. Sam.  Please don't call me just Tsugawa or Doc (reserved for a special colleague).  Finally, please don't call me Dr. Tsugawa aloud in a crowded room or an airplane.  If someone drops of a heart attack, they may point to me and say 'Hey, he's a doctor!.'"

To all my doctoral colleagues, thank you for your friendship, support, and example.  The most fulfilling aspect of my graduate school experience has been the people I have met and worked with over the last three and a half years.  To the members and conductors of the Desert Foothills New Horizons Band and the BYU New Horizons Orchestra, thank you for allowing me into your lives.  It was an honor sharing your stories with the world.  Also, thank you to my professors, Drs. Marg Schmidt, Sandy Stauffer, Jill Sullivan, and Jeff Bush.  I will be eternally grateful to their commitment of time and treasure to help me find my research voice.  Their dedication to the profession of research and to the success of their students is an inspiration to me.  To Dr. Schmidt for her constant concern for my personal welfare, paving my way to attend ASU, allowing a trombone player to teach her string methods class, and her tireless editing (even the table of contents!).  And to Dr. Stauffer for her kindhearted demeanor, scholastic integrity, providing the resources for me to write this dissertation, and giving me the confidence and opportunities to write, present, and publish.  Thank you all.

Lastly, I could not have completed this journey without Trish.  She transcribed all 33 hours of interviews, saving me months of extra typing an analyzing.  She made the loneliness of dissertation writing bearable as we were able to talk about the participants in the study together.  Also, the personal sacrifices made during my year in Arizona while she stayed in Utah will assure her a place in the Doctoral Spouses' Hall of Fame (she is already a member of the Orchestra Director Widows' Hall of Fame).  "If music be the food of on."  ST

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First Date 20 Years AGO!

Sam and I had our very first date 20 years ago today, September 29th. Wow, how time flies. He took me to a Suzuki concert that one of his students, Derek Fulwider, was performing in. I was so excited, having never been to a Suzuki concert. I couldn't believe how well such young children could play! Wonderful! Afterwards (or was it before) we went to the Osaka restaurant in downtown Provo. I was so impressed that he would take me to a really nice restaurant. So to celebrate 20 years, we are going to eat at the Osaka this evening for dinner (yum yum!). Maybe we could go to Derek and Pam's (another of Sam's former students who married Derek) house and listen to their sweet family play for us! Hmm, should have called and set that up!  TT

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall is Coming

I admitted to my friend Julie at work several years ago that fall was not my favorite time of the year. Fall meant that summer was over, and that winter was coming. It was like back in grade school when I would say the first week of school, "Last week I could do whatever I wanted, ride a bike or go swimming, and now I have to go to dumb school." Summer means long days of sunshine, Sam is home, my flowers grow, the 4th of July, the 24th of July in St. Johns with a parade and family time. My friend said fall is her favorite time of the year, and as I have read the NieNie Dialogues, I find she loves fall, especially Halloween. Hmm, I need to rethink my feelings about fall. There are things I love, like leaves changing colors, that is pretty. The sun hangs lower in the south which creates a golden sky. Sam is teaching me to appreciate the game of football, and that can be fun when BYU wins (not so much when losing by a lot of points to Florida State!). The nights are cooler, which makes for better sleeping and less need for a fan running all night. I like orange and brown, fall colors. I love wearing sweaters and jackets. Some of our favorite shows are back on TV. Buying Halloween candy is fun unless I eat it all before the cute neighborhood trick-or-treaters come! Fall isn't winter and has warm days with no snow on the roads! Hmm, fall. Happy first day of Autumn on September 22nd! (TT)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sharla and Jaron

Sam and I attended the beautiful reception in Hooper, ladies and gentleman, of Sharla and Jaron Foy! We enjoyed getting to meet Jaron and his family, and I loved talking to his two grandmothers. Sharla looked so beautiful in her wonderful dress, and Jaron was a handsome groom. A fun time was had by all (as the old St. Johns newspaper said a LONG time ago!). It was so good to see Sandy and Gary who looked very dapper in their black and pink (loved that pink tie on you Gary!). Loved the strawberry and vanilla ice cream sundaes with toppings and cookies (loved the pink M&M's and black Oreo's that were Sharla's colors, among other doo-dads to put on top that were her colors). The wedding cake itself tasted wonderful, and I loved the football cake in honor of Jaron who plans to be a high school football coach! For a minute I thought Sharla and Jaron might be related through Adaline Knight Belnap (married to Gilbert Belnap in Nauvoo days), but no, Jaron's mom has a relative who married into the Belnap line (the Belnaps settled around Hooper when the Pioneers moved west from Nauvoo, and Adaline's mother, Martha Knight, and grandmother, Abigale Mead McBride, are buried in the Ogden City Cemetery which is right next to Hooper). Sandy and I were excited to meet Jerry and Margaret Davis, with Jerry's grandfather being none other than Nofear Davis! I have heard Grandpa Davis talk about Uncle Nof in years gone by, so it was fun to meet Nof's grandson! Turns out that Jerry's daughter married a Richard Jacob who knows Dennis Davis, and Jerry and Margaret met Dennis at their daughter's wedding reception. It is great to be know your family history and meet all these people! Thanks Sharla and Jaron for getting married so we could all get together for a big party! Sam and I want to head back up to The Burger Bar when there is time to wait in line! Good to be with family. TT

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th

I am a morning TV news watcher, and today's news was of course about the attacks on September 11, 2001. I remember so clearly watching the Today show that day. The first tower had been hit, and Bryant Gumble was reporting that, when all of a sudden another plane could be seen flying towards and then hitting the second tower! I knew terrorists had put into action a gruesome plan. Then a plane hit the Pentagon, and another plane possibly headed for the White House crashed in Pennsylvania. What a difficult time, the end of 2001! I remember President Bush saying from Ground Zero that the U.S. would be coming for the perpetrators, and it felt so right to plan to squash evil! My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones. A mother and daughter were in one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers, and they had ties to Utah. A young LDS man doing an internship was killed in the Pentagon. How sad there are those who do not value people and life. TT

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Live United!

Today, September 10th, was United Way's Day of Caring. My co-worker and I participated, starting with breakfast at LaVell Edward's Cougar Stadium! It was great to be with a lot of caring people. Then Rose and I drove in her beater Jeep (love beater trucks!) to 840 North and 800 West to the RAH (Recreation and Habilitation) Center. This center is for handicapped people who come to participate in activities of all sorts. Rose and I helped clean the south side of the building. She cleaned out flower/tomato beds, and I swept half the patio while Su Tullis's brother-in-law (what a coincident to run into him and his lovely wife Julia formerly Barton!) swept the other half. Then Rose and I raked lawns after BYU Grounds people pruned trees. How amazing BYU sent so many over to do the trees, which were really in need of trimming. There were several top BYU Alumni people there as well. So neat to see everyone in their white t-shirts with black lettering on the front, Live United. This is the second year I have taken a morning off work to clean up a non-profit's yard. I highly recommend volunteering this way. Brad Olson and Tau were there as well. Looking forward to next year's activity!  TT

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Quest for Good Health

In the quest for health, Sam made up a song in a serendipitous moment. We hope you like it.

Benefiber, Benefiber
Look out! Look out!
Pour in water. Pour in water.

(As sung to the tune Scotland's Burning)
If you don't know the tune, click on the link.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Program & Ronald Reagan

Because it has been months since we have updated our blog, our family wanted us to add to our blog. So here it is.

Trish and I have been mulling over all the news over the economy vis-à-vis furloughs, taxes, home prices, and especially health care. We could not help but laugh at the Cash for Clunkers Program. Let me see if we understand this program. The government will give us $4500 for Trish's 1993 Honda Accord so that she can buy a Ford Neon-like vehicle; however, the gov't is running out of money and Congress will throw another $4,000,000,000 of funny money into the program. Right? Sounds like Ronald Regan was correct when he said: "The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." ST & TT

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Big Budah visits Springville High School

This week Fox 13 Good Day Utah chose Springville High School as its "Cool School of the Week." Big Budah spent the morning with students and featured the marquee programs at SHS. Budah spent time with and featured the cheer squad, drill team, choir, and the Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra played Pirates of the Caribbean and impressed Budah, producers, and anchors Keri Cronk and Dan Evans. Impressed, the Fox 13 folks decided to tape two 60 second promos of the orchestra and the choir to show on the 5 o'clock news later in the day. All in all, the orchestra received just over 4 minutes of time on Fox today!

Honestly, when I watch the "Cool School of the Week" segments on Wednesday mornings, I always say to myself (out loud sometimes), "Suckers!!! You had to get up at 4:00 am to do a handful of 60 second segments." Well, as one of my students declared, "It is reverse Karma." I admit that I was not looking forward to getting up at 4:00 for a 5:30 am call time. I am sure that the orchestra kids did not want to show up at 5:30 either; however, they showed up, worked hard, and played very well. The orchestra received complements from Budah and anchors Keri and Dan. In fact, Budah mentioned to me after the broadcast that he thought the Philharmonic Orchestra was the best orchestra he has heard in the nearly 300 schools he has visited in six years of doing "Cool School." Budah's kind words and the extra 60 second segment made the 5:30 am call time worth it. When he announced to the orchestra that the producers wanted to do an extra 60 second spot for a 5:00 pm news promo, the kids were visibly stoked and excited. I definitely had a good time this morning.

You can click on the link below to see the orchestra's segment on Fox 13 Good Day Utah.

Big Budah and The Springville High School Philharmonic Orchestra


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sam's first research article published!

I received word yesterday that my first research article, "Merle J. Isaac (1898-1996): His Contributions and Influence on Music Published for the School Orchestra" was accepted for publication by the Journal for Historical Research in Music Education. The article is scheduled to be published in the Fall 2010 issue of JHRME.

I did not realize how long it took to publish a 25 page paper in a research journal. I began research on this paper over two years ago, presented the paper at an ASU graduate research symposium and music educators conference in 2007 and 2008. I then submitted the first manuscript in June of 2008, received word that it needed some revisions in October, turned in the revised manuscript in December, received word of its acceptance in February, only to have to wait another year and half to see it published. All in all, the process of publishing this particular paper will have taken nearly four years! Now that I know the system, I should be able to shorten the process to two years on my next article :o

I have enjoyed the research process since beginning doctoral work at ASU. I find it exciting coming up with new ideas and stretching the limits of teaching through research. I also have found writing agonizingly exhilarating, almost like auditioning for a musical group...or standing in front of a firing squad.