Showing posts from January, 2007

This week's tune

Because I have nowhere else to put it, I'm posting this week's tune on my blog. "The Star of the County Down" is a commonly heard piece and, while not terrifically difficult, it does provide a good template on which to practice several important tin whistle movements.

As I noted on the FaceBook page for the Fordham students, this is an imperfect rendering of the tune. The first "A" could well be a "G" and, on the video, I think I play both. Nevertheless, it's still a decent skeletal structure to work with.

Gospel Explorations

Tomorrow night I and two other Jesuits (Chris Johnson and Drew Marquard) will launch a new group here at Fordham University. Entitled "Gospel Explorations" it is a group that prays over and reflects upon that Sunday's gospel. Meeting on Monday evenings from 8:00-9:00, we are hoping to build a community of students who desire to spend time praying and discussing the gospel and finding ways to integrate the Word into their lives.

Why is this necessary?

Having worked with college students for several years, I have no doubt that they are sincere and genuine thinkers. Even their oft-quoted, yet jejune, "Well, I'm spiritual but not religious" betrays an impulse present in each of them that drives them to seek some form of deeper connection with the Holy Other.

The problem, particularly in a Catholic context, is that these students are absolutely starved for spiritual nourishment. In fact, in my limited experience of traveling to various parish churches (when I had…

Candidate Weekend

Fifteen men of varying ages and backgrounds have descended on Ciszek this weekend in order to "Come and See" what life is like as a Jesuit scholastic. We are all of us playing a role in this weekend: I'm preparing dessert tomorrow (Bread pudding with whiskey cream sauce), playing the ol' squeeze box at our coffee house, and then preparing brunch on Sunday. It's exciting and heartening to meet so many guys interested in joining the Society!

It was a quiet week with very little to report on. I re-read the post I wrote almost one year ago (on the 28th of January) and I marvel at how far I've come this year! It's surreal. From gunshot wounds to Wittgenstein in twelve sounds more like a self-help book than Jesuit formation.

A new YouTube video has been posted (week 3's lesson). Drew and I also made an executive decision today to broaden our horizons so look for some "scene changes" to come in the very near future. It probably won't …

You Know It's Cold When...

You're standing at the finish line at today's New York Road Runners Half-Marathon
and, as the runners cross the finish line, you notice less their gasping for breath and more the fact that icicles hang from their beards and hair and that their shirts are stiff from frozen sweat.

Now were I to have made the exercise video (leotard rather than tin whistle) maybe I would have been in good enough shape to run in today's event. As it turns out, I went with Mara Brecht (another grad student here at Fordham) in order to cheer Mike Jacko, SJ and Drew Marquard, SJ as they braved the BITTER cold. There are few times in my life that I can remember being as cold as I was today and I even dressed in six layers of clothing.

Sadly, Mara and I provided more "holding coats/bags" support than moral support - since it was so cold, we opted to meet them immediately at the finish line rather than finding them at some point on the route -- neither of us wanted them to have to wait to …

Exercise Video

Drew and I put together an exercise video that is now posted to YouTube. Now, don't get any ideas of seeing me in a leotard and leg warmers (My God would that be awful).

The video in question is an Tonguing Exercise (again, refrain from allowing your sick imagination too much license) that is used for tin whistle playing. If you're keeping up with the series, this video should be of help to you!

Learn to Play the Tin Whistle

(the best part of this is that it is free!)

Fordham University Presents: Introduction to the Irish Tin Whistle Week 2

Thanks to the labors of Drew Marquard, SJ I believe this video to be of a MUCH higher quality that the first video. I post it here more because I'd love to solicit feeback from people as to what I might do to improve on it. Note: I just couldn't resist putting at least a little reference to St. Ignatius in the video!

Classes Resume

I had two classes yesterday: my "Intro to the Irish Tin Whistle" and a course on St. Augustine. I was thrilled with the number of students who attended the whistle class - over forty - and I have high hopes for this semester. My philosophy course was very good, too, and I'm excited to be taking this class.

Drew and I will be video taping two new segments for my course. I hope to have them edited and posted by this evening. At heart, this series is intended for anyone who is interested in learning to play the tin whistle and I'm trying to gear the videos to be as simple and straight forward as possible. If you're interested, please enroll in the YouTube group (following the link above) and let me know if I can be of help.

I've been thinking a lot about how quickly this last year has gone by. Just one year ago, I baptized my first baby. A year later, her family still grieves the loss and I study philosophy. There's a cruelty in that: I was, each night, able t…


Blogger is being a bit wonky with my latest video. Hopefully this problem will be resolved soon!

As it is now officially Tuesday, January 16th, classes are back in session. I will greet forty eager minds (and fingers) this evening with my inaugural lecture: "How to hold and blow the tin whistle." If it's really good, maybe I can deliver it at Oxford...

Tin Whistle Duet

I can be candid in saying that this is one of the coolest tin whistle tricks I've seen. I mean, I'm lucky to be able to play with my own hands, but to switch hands?

This is Michael and Brian, my two music students. Shot by Drew Marquard, SJ at the Duns Family St. Stephen's Day Extravaganza, this video is a quick testament to their talent. I uploaded another video to YouTube that shows us playing another jig together but, as this is by far the cooler of the two, I thought I'd post it here.

I've been Tagged!

I never get tagged on these "Meme" jobs, so it is my great honor to get to answer it. Thanks to Joe who tagged me:

[A is for apparitions - your favorite]: I'm tempted to say that it is Mother Theresa's face appearing in a cinnamon bun. And yet, I'm partial to Lourdes (I'm a sucker for the "Song of Bernadette")

[B is for Bible - the one you read most often]: The Christian one. I find the New Oxford Annotated Bible to be quite fine

[C is for Charism - the one you would most like to have]: The Ability to read souls.

[D is for Doctor of the Church - your favorite]: Robert Bellarmine

[E is for Essential Prayer - What’s yours?]: Prayer for Generosity

[F is for Favorite Hymn]: Magnificat

[G is for Gospel - your favorite author?]: Luke

[H is for Holy Communion - How would you describe it, using one word?]: Nourishing.

[I is for Inspiration - When do you feel most inspired by God?]: Teaching.

[J is for Jesus - When did you first meet Him?]: As a little boy when I woul…

Back in NYC

Having just returned to NYC and unpacked my bags, I have to re-pack for a three-day retreat I will depart for tomorrow. Of course there will be no updates while I'm gone but, when I return, expect a flurry of activity. The tin whistle class begins in just one week and I have much work to do to prepare for it!

Me and my Sister's Ball-and-Chain (AKA Boyz in the Hoodies)

It's an odd phenomenon the Duns family faces: what to do with two Irish musicians in the house? Well, Brian Halloran and I are soon to be family: Brian is my sisters fiancee. Just before Christmas we recorded this little video (more out of silliness than anything else)!

Happy New Year!

A belated happy new year to all!

Things have been pretty hectic these last few days. I went to our Formation Conference last weekend, returned late on New Year's Eve, and then taught music on both Monday and Tuesday. Today I am going to finish a book about Theresa of Avila and then begin a book on Catholics and American Culture by Mark Massa, SJ.

I had a touch of a cold last week with all of the obligatory symptoms: sore throat, runny nose, headache, swollen feet (oops, that's my Grandma Hagan's big complaint, not mine). Can you explain to me why, then, one pill can't cover all of the symptoms? The available medications are fabulous: Tylenol Cold-and-teeth-whitener-plus-scrubbing bubbles-and-wood refinisher is a great product, so long as in addition to household chores it accomplishes something small, like turning my drippy nose off! I mean, some of these pills will do your homework for you, put you to sleep, dry your nose, but still leave you with an awful headache, wh…