After much thought and an assessment of my commitments this coming semester, I've decided to step aside as Debono's guitarist. One of my goals in the past year was to train a new guitarist so that the musical form was not dependent on my presence, and I feel more than comfortable that Julie can handle the responsibilities. I e-mailed her yesterday to make sure she was on the same page. As I anticipated, she hates you all and is sickened by thought of Debono, but is willing to do it for the art of improvisation.
The evolution of the musical form in Debono is sincerely one of the most proud accomplishments of my life. I've always enjoyed musical games in the multiple improv groups I've been in, but I feel a lot of pride and responsibility for contributing to the construction of a form that is fun, unique, and still evolving. Joining Debono in the Spring of 2009 was unexpected. At that time I saw it as a temporary distraction. But it turned into an activity I looked forward to every week and I found myself a permanent fixture (while still having never actually walked over the mouse traps or learned the hand gestures for livin' on a prayer).
Alas, after 9 years of being in some college improv group, I believe the time has arrived to move on to browner pastures. I'm also confronted with completing a dissertation, teaching a new and very demanding class (get ready for an awesome semester Clare!), maintaining a (very) long distance relationship, amongst other smaller but very time consuming chores. I may also move forward with teaching improv to grown-ups at Class Act, something I started last year and wish I had followed through with.
I'd still like to make myself available to fill in for Julie if, for example, she is in a bind and can't find a babysitter for her kids, or she's busy on the Mitt Romney campaign trail in the coming months. I'm still around and I'll probably drop in to watch shows (and take notes, but only if you ask me). I'd also be happy to stop in and coach if you need a "outsiders" eye. I also consider you some of my closest friends, so don't be surprised or creeped out if I text you to go out for a beer (or a soda).
If I may offer some parting friendly advice: I think it might be worth while for a few of the other guitar or piano players in Debono to experiment with accompanying once in a while. Not only will it beef up the musical line-up, but accompanying will make you a better player. Also, I want to echo one of Sweeney's ideas that was never executed: I think it'd be a good idea to meet as a group and just watch Disney musicals and South Park episodes. If you haven't heard the music from Parker and Stone's "Book of Mormon", STOP whatever you're doing it and download it now. It's AMAZING.
Finally, I want to express how proud I am of you all. Watching everyone learn how to do musical improv (yes, even master Michael Gaschler who was at one point afraid to sing), has been a thrilling, at times spiritual experience. (Mind you: I don't often experience these.) If the caliber of our new members is any indication of the future of Debono, I think this group is headed down a very exciting path. Thank you, Debono, for making feel very valued and loved. I'm gonna miss practice and seeing you every week. Good luck at CIT.