Love is in the air

What a week!!!--so much celebrating. It’s a good thing that I don’t have to wear any of my costumes for a few more weeks. Last Sunday, we celebrated the 23rd birthday of my oldest son. The middle of the week brought the great feast and celebration of Christmas. Last night brought an enormously joyful event to our family. That same oldest son was married here in Bucks County. It’s been nearly 168 hours of heart lifting and happy revelry.

I can’t say that a few tears haven’t been shed as well. I can remember holding my little boy when he was just an infant in the hospital back in December, 1990. I have been struck, at times, over the years, with his beautiful maturation into a young adult. And now, as I watched him beam at the foot of the altar as he awaited his bride to come down the aisle, I saw a true, strong, and wonderful man.

There is no question, in this family, that much of our lives revolve around celebrations in Church. Yesterday was no different as this incredible sacrament was celebrated. During the week, there were Masses to be sung--I sang last Sunday and then again on Christmas Eve and also at the wedding (each time, a cantor during the Mass). Music is a big part of our glee. And, at the wedding reception, the music of another era took over, filled my heart with its beat, and made me smile as I watched a younger generation “do their thing”. How great to have so many different tunes, chants, carols, ballads, and even rap, all share time in my ear in this week. I rejoice for each note and am so thankful for the liturgies and receptions that enriched and quickened us.

I pray that your hearts are also being touched during this glorious Christmas season. May He, who is light and peace, permeate your heart and fill with you with joy. He sure did do that to us.

May that always be the case

This week, I made my annual trip to Yale to give a public master class and to privately instruct the students of the Yale Opera program. These days with the students are always looked forward to and greatly enjoyed. Such tremendous talent resides within the walls of this great university--it’s not a place just for future lawyers and physicians. I have been making these visits to Yale since 2002. So many of the singers have gone on to have fine careers in the vocal arts. Others have gone on to become fine instructors. It is obvious to me that these young singers are not only very talented, but are fine leaders as well. In addition, they are interesting students to instruct and always willing to explore their possibilities. These are the kind of students I enjoy teaching. I get as much out of them as they give to me. I’ve often said that teaching makes me a better singer. May that always be the case.

Upon completing this week’s teaching, I came home for a nice break. I don’t have a professional singing engagement for over a month (and how I look forward to the upcoming “Rusalka” performances in San Antonio) but will serve as a cantor in our Parish for a few Masses in the coming weeks. I sang for a funeral yesterday and was glad to lend my talents to help honor a very fine man (and friend). Singing for these kind of local services have always been important to me. I have never felt that my career was merely about singing in international opera houses or on concert stages. It’s never been about being invited to the finest of universities to instruct. It’s been about sharing gifts, sharing talents, and trying to help to lift the human spirit. May that always be the case.

This time away from the performing stage is also cherished and welcome as it allows me to work on upcoming assignments. It also allows me much needed time at home to connect with my family. This month brings a MAJOR family event on top of all of the festivities celebrating our Savior’s birth. We will celebrate the wedding of my son to his lovely fianc
é just after Christmas. The bells are ringing all over the Held halls--and we rejoice. May that always be the case.

OH--and one more thing--The Shockers are undefeated. May that ALWAYS be the case.