Beauthy Abounds

Even though it’s cloudy, it’s a gorgeous Fall day in Bucks County. This picture was taken earlier this week when the sun was in abundance. With the wet and cool months we’ve had as of late, it’s been wonderful to have such a nice week. Obviously, we’re in that time of year where change is most noticeable--and wow, are things about to really change for me.

After several months off, next week finally brings the beginning of the rehearsal period for “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” at The Met. I am so looking forward to this production (at least as of now). One never knows, going in, what the director’s concept is of the piece. I hope I don’t have too dreadful of a surprise when we have our first meeting on Monday in New York.

There are over 18,942,336 versions of this opera and I think I’ve sung every note written for the villains in all those manifestations. I’ve sung the music in different keys, in unbelievably variable productions, and in situations that are nearly impossible to describe. I love this piece.

It will be a hectic first week of November as I’ll commute between NYC and Washington, D.C. where I will take part in two concert performances of “Gotterdammerung”. I love singing Gunther but the task is going to be a bit tough with all of the rehearsing going on in NYC as well. It’ll be time to put my body through gentle pacing.

The Phillies have made it to the World Series again. We’re waiting to see if the Yankees or the Angels are going to join Philadelphia in the Fall Classic. I’m a Cardinal fan but since we live so close to Philadelphia, I guess I need to have an interest in the local team---actually, I’ll probably be pulling for the Yankees.

When a busy business time period approaches, it’s essential that I get on top of things on the home front as much as possible beforehand (that’ll never fully be realized). However, I’ve got a lot of catching up caught up upon and I’m feeling good heading into “Hoffmann”. Bring it on!!!

What a different life it would have been

I’ve been home from Illinois since Monday and am finding that once again I’m playing catch-up. As is usually the case before beginning a longer assignment, I try to go into it with everything organized--and, I most always fail. But, I’ll keep trying.

What a great week last week was in Decatur---such wonderful talent, spirit, drive, and interest. The students were very attentive and willing to try things that perhaps they hadn’t considered in the past. The faculty at Millikin University is also top notch and very supportive of those in their studios and choirs. I am always impressed by the work being done on campus---but this was a very special visit in many ways. Go Big Blue---I’m proud to be one of yours. Oh, and I also enjoyed my visit to my old fraternity house---SAE.

This trip was full of contemplation for me. I flew into Chicago and then took a short flight down to Peoria on October 5 (I then drove to Decatur). The 20-25 minute trip from Chicago took me over some of my childhood haunts including the town of Spring Valley, Illinois where I was born. I could also see the town that knew my youth, Washburn. I spent so much time in and around the backroads of Central Illinois---every visit is a blast from the past.

Of course, being on your alma mater’s campus floods one’s memories---hearing the bells each morning from Westminster Presbyterian Church (where Nancy and I were married) was heartwarming. I saw so many familiar faces and places--again, there is a memory on most corners of that small city in my mind.

Last weekend, I drove back to the Peoria area to see family before flying home on Monday. I visited my home town and saw the buildings that are the pillars of my childhood memories. I visited or drove past four cemeteries where so many relatives and friends are laid to rest and was moved by the cherished memories I have of each of them. And I enjoyed spending time with my Mom, Sister, and Brother as well. I am such a small town boy.

I guess that perhaps, since I’m nearing a “milestone” birthday, my memories are a bit more on the surface this year. I’m headed into a major engagement that totally excites me--as well as challenges my abilities. I never thought as a youth I’d be an internationally known opera singer.

In fact, I was recently contacted by “Opera News” magazine to offer information for a small blurb that will appear in the December edition of the publication. One question was “If you hadn’t become a singer, what would have become”. My interests were so wide ranging as a youth---I thought I’d be a teacher or perhaps the finest basketball player of all time. But I’ve always had a love for animals (gee, big surprise there) and can honestly say I would have liked to have been a veterinarian. The picture of this little calf was taken this spring at a nearby farm (one of our favorite places---great ice cream there, too). I guess I’ll never be a vet--but one of my sons has somewhat of an interest in the field. Maybe we’ll have even more of a zoo around here soon.

I am thankful for the talents that I have, for the people and places in my life, and for the animals that bring us such sustenance and joy. What blessings are they all!!!

Back to School

Once again, I’m happy and proud to be back at my alma mater, Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. I’m here to serve as an Artist in Residence and to work with the students on their vocal skills. The week will culminate with a recital/concert on Saturday.

The toughest part of the week is for me to hear so many singers and then narrow down the roster to the few that will sing on Saturday. Already I’ve heard some very fine singing and great potential. I wish they could all perform on Saturday but then we’d have a six hour event--sounds like Gotterdammerung.

It’s always fun being back here in the “Soybean Capitol of the World”. This morning, it was particularly nice to hear the bells from Westminster Presbyterian Church which is next to the house I’m bunking in this week. This is the church where my wife and I were married a few years back. The memories that flood my mind when I’m back in Decatur are truly overwhelming at times---but oh, do I enjoy the experience.

I’m thrilled to report that the St. Louis Cardinals are once again in the playoffs. I’m a life long Cardinal fan and am so happy I’ll be able to watch them in the post season once again.

Only three weeks remain until “Hoffmann” rehearsals get going at The Met. I’ve had several months away from the opera stage and am looking forward to getting back in make-up and back on the boards. Bring it on!!! Time to be the bad guy x 4.