Frost Point

In honor of Icepocalypse 2015 here in Dallas, I thought I'd take a moment to share a bit about my latest original work for jazz big band —a sort of tone poem piece I'm calling "Frost Point."

I actually started writing this last fall, round about the time it first got kind of chilly. I've always had a soft spot for winter, particularly when it first arrives —those early chills that seem to silence the world. Perhaps it stems from my childhood in North Dakota, where we actually had real winters, which lasted long enough for us to have to learn what was beautiful about them. Those early chills carry an oddly simultaneous sense of both bitter cold and warm light —an expectation of hard times through which joy is forged and strengthened.

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Flood Relief: An Appeal

As you may have seen in the news recently, the state of North Dakota has been experiencing record flooding over the past several weeks. In Minot, my hometown, nearly a fourth of the city's population has been evacuated (twice, actually); the Souris River, which runs through the center of town, has risen to nearly 13 feet above flood stage, nearly 4 feet higher than the worst flood the city had ever seen before. The indundation zone covers almost a fourth of the city.

The last reports I heard indicated that more than 4000 homes were affected, 100 of which were flooded up to roof level. Unfortunately, in recent years most residents were told they didn't need flood insurance; as a result, there were only 476 active flood insurance policies in the city this year.

My parents' neighborhood is in pretty bad shape; fortunately, they were able to move with many of their belongings out to the family farm north of town. Not everyone was that fortunate. From what I've read, FEMA has approved a certain amount of individual assistance for those affected, but that'll only go so far.

I'm sure you can appreciate the dire need these people are experiencing as a result of this catastrophe. In order to assist with the relief effort, several organizations have set up donation websites; a good list is available at http://rallyminot.com/donate/. If you can spare some money to help out the victims of this disaster, I know they would appreciate it; so would I.

Additional information and pictures covering the situation can be found by visiting the KX News Minot Facebook page.

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