• Thomas Doggett

Some Holiday Cheer

As I mentioned in my last blog, I collaborated with Courtney Krause and Jordan Mayland for a rockin' version of Jingle Bells for "The Holiday Special" a multi-media collaboration between more than 40 Iowa musicians and creatives that Iowa Public Radio Studio One has produced in collaboration with xBk, a 200-cap arts venue in the Drake Neighborhood in Des Moines. The script features an evil villain who has stolen live holiday entertainment and a crew of Iowa based musicians who bring back the harmony. Our song is featured at 9:45 but I encourage you to start at the beginning and listen to the entire program. To see everyone involved in the making of the this special, visit IPR.


December is always a reflective time for me. It's my birthday, it's the end of the year, it's the end...almost the end...of the semester. This year, I'm not even thinking about doing a Year in Review because...well...because...if you're reading this, you've probably been following along and you know what I've been up to. And I'm thankful. I'm thankful that you've been reading and listening. I'm thankful that I've been able to make music and teach music. I'm thankful to be employed and healthy. I'm thankful that I'm available for my friends and family and students. With all of the weirdness of this year, it's reinforced in me what is really important: health, adaptability, love, encouragement, a meal, a conversation, expression, community, family, friends, comfort. These things have always been important but this year has reminded me and reinforced in me that they really are the basis for everything else in life. Without these things, music doesn't matter...Art doesn't really matter...but when they get mixed together; they really matter. I just finished reading Brian Eno's A Year with Swollen Appendices and throughout the book, he continually asks: Why am I doing this? It's a great question. Eno eloquently attempts to answer it. Of the many possible answers that he proposes, my favorite is that Art teaches us empathy. It allows us to see life as a different person...as a different character in a different situation in a different life. I've been asking myself the past few days: "How do we learn to appreciate?" and maybe more importantly, "how do we teach appreciation?" I honestly don't know but I think it might be a combination of empathy, art, and identifying what's really important. And as I reflect on my own life, that comes from experiences. It comes from conversations...and meals...and family...and friends...and community.


Take care of yourselves and each other. Stay safe and well.

xoxoxox