The 30th gets rolling

So, tonight my 30th season as a professional singer begins.  I’m in San Antonio for concerts with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra where  I am the Narrator for Schoenberg’s “A Survivor from Warsaw” and the bass soloist for Beethoven’s “9th Symphony”.  

This is the first time I’ve performed the Schoenberg piece.  It is extremely moving and powerful.  Being closely associated with music from the 2nd Viennese School is an honor.  Of course, the music is challenging-but, it is so rewarding as well.  

I first became acquainted with the 9th Symphony as a young child when I checked out a recording of the piece from our small town local library.  I was overwhelmed by the power of the fourth movement and dreamed of having a chance to be the soloist someday (or even to simply sing in the chorus--and, it certainly isn’t simple).  I sang, for the first time, the bass solo 25 years ago in Charleston, South Carolina.  A young Ben Heppner was the tenor soloist that night.  

Since that time, I’ve also come to cherish the first three movements of the Symphony.  They are so contrasting.  The mature Beethoven’s genius is exhibited in each moving measure.  

Over the years, in my score, I’ve kept a record of the singers, orchestra, and conductor with whom I’ve performed the work.  What a thrill it is to see these names, remember the locales (as far away as Tokyo, Japan shortly after 9.11), and all the incredible experiences.  The response from the audience at the end of each concert is stunning and thrilling.  I am very much looking forward to the experiences of these next three days.

My second year at Wichita State began nearly 5 weeks ago (Wow, did we start early!).  We’ve had a great start to the academic year.  I posted, yesterday on Facebook, that I truly owe a great amount to my students who make me a better singer each and every day.  Teaching reinforces my technic.  I am also teaching two classes this year which are broadening my horizons in many ways and reconfirming my own learnings.  I highly recommend teaching on any level.  You’ll understand more about what you know (and what you don’t) and pass on things to the next generation that will hopefully help them.  

Baseball season is winding down.  Basketball season is showing glimpses of arriving.  Football season?  What’s that?