Meet me in St. Louis...

It is wonderful to be back in St. Louis for concerts with the magnificent St. Louis Symphony Orchestra of Wagner’s “Der Fliegende Holländer”. This is my third time to perform with this orchestra under the baton of Maestro David Robertson. These are semi-staged concerts with video projections on enormous sails that indicate the Dutchman’s tall sailing masts. It’s thrilling to be performing with such a great group of musicians. Great to be back.

Many of you know that St. Louis has always been one of my favorite cities. This dates back to my childhood when I first became a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. I attended my first major league game here in 1971. I followed those heroes of my youth quite closely and sought every score and statistic. Many nights, my sleeping was delayed by listening to the games on a transistor radio which was placed under my pillow.

What a thrill it was, yesterday, to visit the St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Fame. I was able to hold the bats of Stan “The Man” Musial and Lou Brock and wear two World Series Champion Rings. I saw displays concerning the history of this great team. I had a tour of Busch Stadium (the third version) and was in the dugout. It was just a very moving day for this Cardinal fan.

St. Louis is also where my wife and I spent a very brief honeymoon 35 years ago this month. It is hard to believe that my dear Nancy and I have been married this long. It seems like yesterday when we were students together at Millikin University (about 120 miles away). On our honeymoon, we visited The Goldenrod Showboat for a melodrama and went to the St. Louis Zoo as well. We had less than 36 hours or so to visit the city as I had to be back in Decatur, Illinois to help lead a summer music organization. Those were hectic days..and things haven’t slowed down much over the years. On the contrary, with four kids, performing and teaching careers, many moves, and so many changes from year to year, it’s been an incredible and mind spinning adventure. And we are grateful for every turn.

Thankfully, Wichita is not so far from St. Louis. We can make it here in just about 6.5 hours by car. I hope to spend more time here in the future to visit the wonderful opportunities this city offers, including the incredible Cathedral-Basilica and its nearly indescribable mosaics. The great arch beckons those from the east to visit the great west. And it shows those of us who have passed through this city that connections back to the east are calling as well. Journeys continue both ways past that great croquet wicket looking structure. May our journeys always bring us back to where we have our most wonderful memories and may we hold onto the roots that so firmly feed us through life.