Finale adventures in Chicago

Every December for the last twenty years or so I have represented Finale at the Midwest Clinic – the annual International Band and Orchestra Conference held in Chicago. While in the process of talking about Finale at this show, I’ve developed countless friendships over the decades, and look forward to seeing many familiar faces there each year.

Among those faces are Winona and David Holsinger. Talking with them is one of the highlights of the show for me: in part because of my admiration for David as a composer, but also because they are both such delightful people. David loves to talk Finale and always has some suggestions he’d like to see in future versions. Today two specific examples come to mind.

David has a penchant for writing great rhythms: 5/4 and 7/4 are old friends to him. If, like me, you’re a fan of his music you know it simmers and moves with a rhythmic insistence that is quite unique. I have a vivid recollection of him requesting, long ago, a faster way of indicating both a time signature and the desired beaming.

I wish I could have seen his face the first time he right-clicked on a time signature in Finale 2006 and saw this expanded contextual menu:

Options like 5/8 (2+3) and 7/8 (2+2+3) just strike me as soooo David-esque!

More recently, I wish I could have seen David’s face when he first saw the Finale Percussion font included with Finale 2011; I recall him requesting just such a font.

For today’s blog post however, I’d like to recall a specific visit to the Midwest Clinic back in December, 2008. As I arrived in Chicago on Thursday, I was looking forward to the warmth of all the friendly faces to counteract the cold, blustery weather. When I awoke early on Friday, however, I discovered that I had no movement in my left hand, and it didn’t seem to be getting better as the morning passed.

As a pianist, this was a less-than-ideal realization. I showered, laughing as I attempted to wash my hair with a limp hand. While I have a very strong “the show must go on” work ethic, a call to my wife, who is a critical care nurse with a doctorate in nursing, confirmed that I had better take a cab to Northwestern Hospital instead of the tradeshow floor as I had planned.

There I was diagnosed with something called “honeymooner’s palsy.” Yup. Apparently some newlyweds, rather than move their sleeping partner off their arm, will endure a night of discomfort only to wake up with some nerve damage. This can also occur to folks who’ve drunk too much and fall asleep in what would otherwise be a painful position. While neither situation described my previous night, I was nevertheless relieved to learn I hadn’t had a stroke, but still a bit apprehensive about the prognosis that I’d probably be fine in a few weeks – or months.

I left the hospital in a bit of a daze to find a text from David:

“The world has too many one-handed concertos already. Get Well!”

This bit of humor was very welcome that day. In time I made a full recovery.

While December is very far off, and I’m not eager to trade snow for today’s sunshine, I’m still looking forward to seeing David, Winona, and everyone else at Midwest again this year As always I’ll be all ears for suggestions of what anyone would like to see in future versions of Finale.

Did Finale 2011 contain answers to items on your Finale wish list? Please share by clicking on “Comments” below!

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