Another trip around the sun

It’s hard to believe that it is New Year’s Eve once again. All years seem to fly by. This year’s journey around the sun was at a supersonic pace. At this time, a year ago, we were living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and had just celebrated the marriage of our oldest son and his lovely bride. We had just made the decision for me to combine a full time teaching position at Wichita State University with my ongoing singing career and were facing a major move half way across the country. Selling and buying a house, packing everything up, new schools, new challenges--so much on our plate. But, we rejoice that the transition has gone so well. We have much to look back upon and rejoice over. Of course, there were difficult times as well. Moving west meant leaving family and friends behind on the east coast. But, God is good and has lead us on this journey. For that, we give Him thanks and praise as we close out 2014 and head into the New Year.

On December 31, I always like to look back at my professional year and note the highlights--even name a favorite performance of the year (if possible). This is a very tough assignment this year since so much else was mixed in with the performances. Beginning my teaching career at Wichita State was a MAJOR “performance” in its own right. I so enjoy my students in my studio and those in the classroom as well. Their own performances thrill me. On the whole, that has gone very well. Staged performances were given in San Antonio (“Rusalka”), Minneapolis (“The Dream of Valentino”), Philadelphia, Munich and Vienna (“Salome”), Cleveland (“The Cunning Little Vixen”) and again in Munich (“The Flying Dutchman”). All of these performances were special in their own way. pick one....well, I’m going to cheat....The Philadelphia performances of “Salome” were so exciting (and, I had a chance to perform nearly in my own backyard). The Cleveland performances of “Vixen” were so special due to the use of projections and outstanding story telling (not to mention, incredible music making by the Cleveland Orchestra), and the Vienna “Salome” performances brought some of my best singing of the year. I’d like to go with all three of these engagements as my favorites of the year. But if I had to nail down one special night, it would be the opening night of the “Salome” run in Philly. What an evening! Call me indecisive...I’m just happy to have been a part of it all.
I rejoiced at winning the 2014 Dora Award given by the Toronto Alliance of the Arts. It recognized my performances in “Peter Grimes” at The Canadian Opera in late 2013. I had been nominated for the award three times in the last few years. What a joy to hear that my name had been called at the award ceremony.
I also enjoyed heading back to Yale to do my annual public master class and private teaching/coaching. I hope that relationship continues into the future.

As I write this, I’m back in San Antonio. My year nearly started here and it is strange being back so soon. But, I’m enjoying my stay. This is my FOURTH production of “Salome” in the past year--that’s a lot of one opera. We open early in 2015 for only 2 performances--a very strong cast.

The year ahead also brings work in Washington, D.C. (where I’ve performed around 30 different operas over the years--it’ll be like going home), Madrid, Spain, San Francisco, Munich, Montreal, and Toronto. I’ll be the soloist on a concert of “The Five Mystical Songs” at Wichita State University and greatly look forward to performing with my own students during that event. And, I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be other singing engagements popping up here and there as well. Stay tuned for those updates.

The Christmas season continues and we rejoice at the birth of our Lord. I pray that I will never forget that He came to this “busy” world to be the focus and center of our lives. When one is going through so many changes in lifestyle, business, location, etc., it is easy to get distracted and to lose focus on what is truly important. Our Lord, who came to us as a child in Bethlehem, has been with us each step of the way. For that alone, this year, we celebrate His birth all the more.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy and blessed New Year! Oh, and