Totally Random

I was up early this morning and finally had a chance to get some catching up accomplished. I guess I have the workmen that arrived our at our house at 6:30 to thank for that. I really should do this more often (except by 3:00 this afternoon I’ll probably be wandering around in a fog with fewer tasks at hand.

I finally updated my upcoming performance schedule. Take a look and don’t hesitate to contact me if I’m in a city near you. One of the great things about performing has been the chance to see so many friends while out on the road.

Yes, I’m very excited about singing the Villains in “Hoffmann” at the Met in the 2009-2010 season. There will be an HD broadcast in the movie theaters on December 19. This engagement only jumped onto the schedule in the past couple of months and is a wonderful addition to my late fall-early winter. It replaces two operas (Elektra/Hansel and Gretel) that had been booked at The Met. I hate to lose those great shows but I LOVE singing the Villains in “Hoffmann”.

There are many things going on that I’ve wished to be blogging about but just haven’t had the time. Here’s a brief rundown.

I loved the “Siegfried” production in D.C. and what came out of all that hard work. It was a lot of fun playing the street bum--such a different approach to The Wanderer.

I was thrilled to be home for the graduations (3) that hit our family this year. I truly enjoyed singing with the kindergartners in their ceremony. We are so proud of our oldest son as well as he graduated high school and is on his way to college in just three weeks. That simply doesn’t seem possible.

We had a very nice trip to Illinois where one of our sons participated in the ShowChoir of America Camp at Millikin University (our alma mater). What an experience (man, was it hot--no air conditioning in the dorm for the kids). It was great to be back on campus and I enjoyed giving a couple workshops as well. I also buzzed up to the Chicago area to sing two concerts. The program consisted of “Five Mystical Songs” (the first time I’ve performed the work) and “Dialogue of Francis and Clare” (also a first time piece for me--written by my dear friend Father Robert Hutmacher). These concerts were part of the 800 Years of Franciscan Life Celebration and were entitled “A Celebration of Hope and Peace”. These were truly beautiful and spiritual evenings.

We enjoyed spending time, while in Illinois, with my Mom and the rest of my family. A very special evening took place when I met up with an old friend (Scott), his wife (Leah), and son (Patrick). This was a surprise visit that Leah arranged over the last several months to celebrate Scott’s 50th birthday. I’ll never forget the look on his face when we got together. Wow!!!

I also made a very quick trip to Tiffin, Ohio to give a couple of clinics at another ShowChoir of America Camp. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed doing these clinics this summer. I always enjoy teaching (and talking) but the sessions went especially well as there were so many teachers from around the country in attendance. I did a workshop for them and then worked with students later in the day. I am always so impressed and moved by the dedication of the teachers who work with youngsters every day and help to inspire them to express themselves through music. The questions that came my way were stimulating and I just hope I added a bit of insight to my approach to singing and what has worked for me all these years. I also tried to pass along how I feel about life in this business, how to survive so many years as an opera signer, and the joy of passing this down to the next batch of singers. Most important, we talked about vocal health and how to keep that strong and secure.

I have had a few wonderful students from various places popping in for lessons this summer as well. How great to see their voices mature, develop, and express. For the past several years, I’ve been a guest teacher/coach at Yale during the school year. The vocal talent there is amazing and it has been great to follow these young singers as so many have developed nice careers on the stage as well. I enjoy advising and working vocally with these students and each new singer that comes in the door. Hopefully, I’ve provided some help to them---they have surely been a blessing to me.

While teaching at one of the ShowChoir camps, I was asked a few times about writing a book on my philosophy and ideas concerning singing and teaching (I took that as an encouraging suggestion.). I’ll have to think more on that. Formulating all of my thoughts can be a difficult task but I’d truly like to express several things that I’ve found to be helpful over the years. I also have strong ideas about “The Science of Singing” that I’d like to continue to hand down to others. I may use this space for some of that in the future and I appreciate the encouragement that the teachers gave me to do so.

Teaching seems to be something that has always been a part of my life and I appreciate all of the teachers I have had (and not just those in the music discipline). I have often times said that I will continue singing as long as I feel like I’m learning something. So far, that seems a long way away as I learn something new each time I vocalize and then step on the stage. After my days of performing are over, Lord willing, I’ll teach full time. I’ll continue to do that until I have nothing else left to teach. Although “rest” is a valuable part of life and is instructed in the Bible, retirement isn’t.

Technical Difficulties

Greetings! It’s been awhile since I updated my website but I assure you, more frequent postings are coming soon. I had a few technical difficulties but that now seems to have been all ironed out. As I said, more updates soon as well as additions to my upcoming engagement page.

In the meantime, know that I’m enjoying summer (though I wish it was warmer. I had concerts last month near Chicago and have greatly enjoyed doing some teaching at home in Pennsylvania and then in Illinois and Ohio as well at some great music camps.

I hope everyone is having a great summer.