Letters from America
'Moving to Cleveland, Ohio - October 2013'
I have now been living in America for around five and a half years, and time has flown by - which, by the way, is not a brilliant thing when you’re hobbling along at my ‘grand old age!’ My first 6 months in Cleveland were made possible via an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which allowed me to stay in the country for three months at a single time. Over that half year period I would have been considered ‘living in the USA’, and that is not permissible without further documentation. I therefore applied for a Performing Visa, which would allow me to stay in the country for a period of a year. These are difficult to obtain, because you have to prove that you are bringing something musically unique to the country, that is not generally to be found in the USA. My application was linked to my offer of employment to direct the musical ensemble Contrapunctus Early Music, based in Cleveland, Ohio. It was approved but, to gain the official stamp in my passport, I needed to visit the American Embassy in London to obtain it! This was completed in 2014. Later that year Judith and I were married at Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina., and I subsequently obtained my Green Card. The card was initially issued for two years. I then had to apply for a full ten year term, proving that my marriage was legitimate and not a sham. After several years this was issued, and I am now officially classed as a Permanent Resident of the United States of America.
Whilst living in Cleveland in late 2013. Judith and I founded a new choral ensemble, Contrapunctus Early Music. Our first concert in March 2014 was The Life & Times of Mary, Queen of Scots; a concert that was first performed by Counterpoint in Buckfast Abbey in March 2008. Thereafter followed The Remarkable Mr Henry Purcell, a High Voices concert and The Glories of Spanish Polyphony from the 13th to the 17th century.
In May 2014 Judith and I moved down to Charleston in South Carolina.
The next part of the journey will be published in next month’s Blog: ‘The founding of The King’s Counterpoint’