Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'll keep this one short, but I just want to give my Merry Christmasses and Happy Holidays to everyone out there in the cybersphere.  Thank you for making this blog one of the highlights of my week - without readers, I wouldn't be doing this.

Just a few results to post as far as auditions that I have heard from.  Crested Butte did not invite me and neither did Chautauqua Opera.  I also was not invited to the National Opera Association competition this year either.  As I mentioned last week, I am an alternate for the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year and I am still waiting to hear back from a few other places.  Unfortunately, you lose many many more than you win.  Fortunately, I have had an incredibly successful year and half and hopefully one of these auditions will come through.

And on a side note, I tried ice skating for the first time this week and I didn't fall down!  However, I looked about as comfortable as a giraffe drinking.

My finals and jury went very well and I got all A's in my first semester at the Conservatory.  Hopefully that will continue, but I have to admit that it took a lot more work than I bargained for.  I even had to compose a triple fugue for a final! - how intense is that for a final exam!?  I was very proud of how it all turned out.

I will be doing all the Family Christmas rounds this week and then off to New York again next week.  Believe it or not, I have never seen an opera at the Met but I hope to bring back a critique.  And, I will be at the Times Square ball drop, so watch for me on CNN.  I plan on wearing a tan and black coat with black stocking cap, just in case you were wanting to spot me in the crowd.  I am told that a smaller crowd of only 750,000 is expected this year.

Thank you all for all the support, and have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Current Audition Info & Results
Missouri NATS - 2nd Place Advanced Division
Santa Fe Opera - applied - not invited
Chautauqua Opera (New York) - attended, not invited
Wolf Trap Opera (Washington D.C.) - applied, not invited
National Opera Association Competition (San Antonio) - applied, not invited
Crested Butte Opera (Colorado) - attended, not invited
Sugar Creek Symphony (Chicago) - attended, waiting for results
Shreveport Opera Competition - applied, alternate
Symphony in the Valley (Colorado) - applied 10/13
Ash Lawn Opera (near Washington D.C.) - applied 10/13

Upcoming concerts:
March 17-20, 2011 - Don Giovanni by Mozart - Don Ottavio - White Recital Hall
April 23, 2011 - Gloria by Poulenc - White Recital Hall

Monday, December 13, 2010

Susan Boyle

This week, I'd like to give my congratulations to all my friends who graduated this week - and most especially to my little brother.  I have always thought, and I'm sure that many people will agree with me, that the worst part of college is the end.  There is some invisible wall between undergraduate student and the diploma that takes so much energy to push down.  I am not sure how it compares to past generations, but for my generation almost no one graduates in four years and more and more requirements are put on the students.  But, congrats to all those who made it past!  I'm still not sure if it makes life any easier, but it is a great accomplishment.

I must say that I have had a terrific week.  On Tuesday, I was the featured soloist for the Monteverdi Vespers concert in Kansas City.  I know I've been talking about it for a long time, but I was particularly proud of this one.  It included music with strange ornaments and in an ancient style.  I had quite a  number of solos, and it went very very well, thanks to the magical energy in Chinese food.  Thank you to everyone who went and thank you for the great reception afterward.  It really made me feel at home here in Kansas City with all the appreciation and good wishes.  For those who didn't come, I will hopefully have an audio copy of the concert soon.  Go ahead and email me at bryanpinkall@gmail.com if you would be interested in listening to it.

Also, I was the tenor soloist for a production of Messiah at Centennial United Methodist Church in KC, MO.  I always have a lot of fun with Messiah, and I was so happy that my parents came up to watch and spend the weekend with Dusti and I.

A special thank you to Stephanie Dudley who was my "secret Santa" this year and gave me the very appropriate gift of Susan Boyle's Christmas CD!  Now before you get on facebook and post a pro-Susan Boyle comment, I must admit that I am jealous of her success (and Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, and Charlotte Church among others) and I am proud of my jealousy.  Two venial sins make a right, right?  I came across this video on the facebook pages of several of my friends who are professionals.  Don't feel bad if you don't understand some of the jokes - there are a few that only musicians would laugh at - like singing Lulu.



Don't get me wrong.  I really do understand that many people like music for entertainment purposes and do not care or understand the art of it.  But in that sense, it is similar to the difference between love and lust.


“Though lust do masque in ne'er so strange disguise she's oft found witty, but is never wise.” - John Webster



Beyond philosophical tangents, I am going through some rigorous finals this week and I am looking forward to the holidays and bowl season as I am sure many of you are as well.  I am still waiting to hear from several programs and contests that I applied and auditioned for.  I will likely apply to audition for more programs this week.  And, Shreveport Opera notified me that I am an alternate for their Singer of the Year contest.

Finally, a little note on the KCVI charity auction.  It raised over $3,100 so far and received a huge amount of press.  Thank you for participating!  Let me know if there are any performing artists, musicians, or other interesting people that you would like to see in next year's charity auction.  I will try my best to contact them and try to get them on board.


Current Audition Info & Results
Missouri NATS - October 30-31 - 2nd Place Advanced Division
Santa Fe Opera - applied 9/16 - not invited 10/22
Chautauqua Opera (New York) - attended, waiting for results
Wolf Trap Opera (Washington D.C.) - applied 10/8 - not invited 10/18
National Opera Association Competition (San Antonio) - applied 10/12
Crested Butte Opera (Colorado) - attended, waiting for results
Sugar Creek Symphony (Chicago) - attended, waiting for results
Shreveport Opera Competition - applied 10/12
Symphony in the Valley (Colorado) - applied 10/13
Ash Lawn Opera (near Washington D.C.) - applied 10/13

Upcoming concerts:
December 16, 2010 - Voice Juries - UMKC Conservatory
March 17-20, 2011 - Don Giovanni by Mozart - Don Ottavio - White Recital Hall
April 23, 2011 - Gloria by Poulenc - White Recital Hall

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monteverdi & Messiah

Another big week with many exciting events.  First, the KCVI Charity Auction has many items with auctions ending tonight and tomorrow.  To see the auction catalog and to find out more information, please visit www.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction.  The proceeds from the auction will help give free music education for children and families in Kansas City.

For all the Eric Whitacre fans - which I know there are many - his items are not doing so well in the auction.  This will be your last chance to get an incredible deal for an autographed CD or an autographed score of "The Seal Lullaby".  If you are interested, please go to www.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction and browse the catalog for Eric Whitacre items.

On Sunday, I will be the tenor soloist for a production of Messiah at Centennial United Methodist Church in Kansas City, MO at 4:00pm.  If you grew up with classical music, there is no doubt that you will know many of the movements in Messiah including the Hallelujah Chorus.  It should be a fun night with many talented professionals.

As many of you know, tomorrow night is the 400th Anniversary concert for the Monteverdi Vespers with the Conservatory Singers, Kansas City and St. Louis Symphony baroque ensembles, and I sing two solo movements and many other solos.  It is a really unique piece with many incredible cadenzas, melismatic phrases, and ornaments.  Please come if you are in the area.  The Vespers begins at 7:30pm at Visitation Catholic Church in Kansas City, MO.

In preparation for the Vespers, I have had many weird and ancient instruments to get you in the Monteverdi mood.  The last one will be the Regal.  It is a simple organ that needs several people to operate.  One to play the keyboard, one to move the pumps, and one to turn pages (naturally).  Here is an example of the Regal.




Current Audition Info & Results
Missouri NATS - October 30-31 - 2nd Place Advanced Division
Santa Fe Opera - applied 9/16 - not invited 10/22
Chautauqua Opera (New York) - attended, waiting for results
Wolf Trap Opera (Washington D.C.) - applied 10/8 - not invited 10/18
National Opera Association Competition (San Antonio) - applied 10/12
Crested Butte Opera (Colorado) - attended, waiting for results
Sugar Creek Symphony (Chicago) - attended, waiting for results
Shreveport Opera Competition - applied 10/12
Symphony in the Valley (Colorado) - applied 10/13
Ash Lawn Opera (near Washington D.C.) - applied 10/13

Upcoming concerts:
December 7, 2010 - Featured Soloist - Monteverdi Vespers (400th Anniversary Concert) - Visitation Catholic Church -  Kansas City, MO - 7:30pm
December 12, 2010 - Tenor Soloist - Messiah by Handel - Centennial United Methodist Church - Kansas City, MO - 4:00pm
December 15, 2010 - Voice Juries - UMKC Conservatory
March 17-20, 2011 - Don Giovanni by Mozart - Don Ottavio - White Recital Hall
April 23, 2011 - Gloria by Poulenc - White Recital Hall

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chautauqua Opera & Sugar Creek Auditions

What a wonderful day to hear all the encouraging responses to my last post.  My two auditions today went swimmingly and I am very happy with how they went.

First, I had Sugar Creek auditions.  This time, when I chose to sing "Lenski's Aria" the pianist actually played "Lenski's Aria"!  It was in a very live room and it went very well.  Since the audition was around noon, my voice was fresh and even a little more full than normal because I woke up not too long before the audition.  I usually would be worried about that, but for Lenski, the effect was pretty impressive.  After I finished the first aria, the judges chose to hear "Here I Stand" from The Rake's Progress.  I was also very happy to sing this because it is very difficult mentally.  It takes a good musician and a good mind to sing it well.  It is a complicated score and I was so happy to sing this so it would take the "pick on the smart kid" taste out of my mouth from yesterday's audition.  I just sang the recitative for the aria, as I suppose they were wanting to hear me sing in English.  They smiled and one wrote a short note to the other - passed it along the length of the table - the other judge looked at it and gave a head nod and I was given the signal that they had heard what they needed from me.  I was very proud of how it went and as I walked past out the door, they stopped me to ask my height.  A short comment, but again the small questions make me feel encouraged because it shows that they are interested in me.  Hopefully I will hear from them after they are finished with their auditions.

Shortly after Sugar Creek, I sang for Chautauqua Opera.  If you remember, I had to reschedule these because my flight was canceled twice. They were gracious enough to reschedule my time.  I also sang "Lenski" and they also chose "Here I Stand".  My voice was even more free for "Lenski" which allowed me to make even more of an emphasis on some musicality elements.  The aria went very well again, and they were very interested in my performance.  Last year, I felt my best experience was with Chautauqua, and again they were very welcoming.  I sang the last half of "Here I Stand".  It was a little rusty and I did not sing the end very well compartively, however I did experience another audition oddity.  Sitting in on the auditions were two donors for Chautauqua sitting in on auditions for the first time.  I assume they were just curious and excited to see how it all went.  But, they made little remark after Lenski.  When I finished "Here I Stand" which has a spoken line at the end saying "I wish I had money!"  They both clapped out loud saying lovely remarks.  It was an older couple, and I have never had applause in an audition, but I was very grateful and acknowledged their applause and thanked them later.

In the end, I learned a lot on this trip and I felt that Sugar Creek went the best, closely followed by Chautauqua.  I think you can guess how I feel about Crested Butte.  Afterwards, Dusti and I went to Central Park and participated in a movie shooting for the movie named "Tower Heist" coming out next year.  It has Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Matthew Broderick in it.  The scene we participated in was in a fake Macy's parade scene where a car chase goes into the parade and causes havoc.  They recreated the parade with a band, giant balloons, banners, floats, crowds, and Tom Turkey.  It was really neat.  We also visited the Plaza Hotel, and the Met (naturally).  Later, we ate with one of Dusti's friends at Alice's Tea Room - kind of a modern version of an Alice in Wonderland tea party set in a little girl's bedroom (as Dusti described it).  They had great food and I know it sounds weird, but incredible scones.

We are flying back tomorrow, and I have rehearsals all day for the Monteverdi concert.  Don't forget to come  to the concert which is at the Church of the Visitation at 51st & Main in Kansas City on Tuesday at 7:30.  It will be an incredible concert with baroque orchestra comprised of two professional groups from Kansas City and St. Louis, the Conservatory Singers, and I have quite a few solos. I am very excited!  Also, many of the KCVI charity auction items are ending soon.  So please place your bids if you haven't already!  All of the proceeds will provide free music education for children and families in Kansas City.  For more information please visit www.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction.

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Crested Butte Opera Auditions

Many people have given me hundreds of points of advice over the last several years about opera auditions.  I am not sure the validity of many of them.  Honestly, most of the horrific audition stories I hear tend to be a little fabricated.  Some are simply absurd - much like the conspiracy theories many people love to entertain like "the government caused 9/11", "the CIA killed JFK", or "NASA faked the moon landing".  They may be great for certain publications and tv specials, but these extreme plots of historical fiction are simply irrational and unreasonable.  I've heard "don't wear your wedding ring because so-and-so will only like you if you're gay", "don't write down that you're getting your doctorate because people will think you're a bad artist so you have to teach", and "give weak handshakes to appear more sexual".  I am usually pretty shocked when I hear certain things, and I don't give much attention to the person after they tell me such things.  I have many friends who are gay and it is simply unreasonable to think that they would show prejudice against me because I'm straight and married.  I don't think that a panel of judges would hire someone based on their sexual appeal in a profession filled with very intelligent people and musicians.  And I think that even though I may have several degrees, it is just a description of my work ethic and intellect - something that they should want in an employee.

Well, today I had Crested Butte Opera auditions in New York.  The program features people from the Met and Covent Garden.  However the auditions were quite unique.  It began with person after person leaving the audition in near shock.  One girl began crying because the piano player purposefully played her slow aria very fast at the end just to make her finish the piece.  He did not slow down when she was trying to direct him. The next guy walked out and said that they had asked him all kinds of history about his character and why he would sing that Verdi aria at only age 31 and gave him all kinds of derogatory questioning all before he sang one note.  He sounded amazing by the way.

Well, I felt like I was in good voice.  I was one of the youngest men there.  I had planned on singing part of Lenski's aria from Eugene Onegin.  I went in, gave them my information, and announced that I would like to sing Lenski's aria.  I have won a lot with Lenski, and it may not be the best audition piece, but it was my most impressive and my most comfortable aria.  So, I chose to begin with "Lenski".

When I announced my first peice, one of the two people at the desk in the front of the room yelled to the accompanist next to me, "Is that alright with you maestro?" He said "yeah" and then asked me "do you fee like a promiscuous king?"  I said, "what".  He asked me the same thing over again.  I didn't know what to say other than "sure".  So many things were going through my head - the loudest of which was, "is this what he wants me to sing Lenski's death-and-sorrow aria as? a promiscuous king?"

Well, then he began to play Questa o quella.  A completely different aria that was in my binder of music.  It is a famous aria, and famously provocative, promiscuous, and high.  I don't particularly enjoy singing it, but many enjoy listening to it.  I couldn't believe that he just chose, out of the blue, to just play what he wanted without asking me, or at least bluntly saying "I want you to sing ____".  Why didn't he do that?  It was like he was trying to trick me.

When he started, he played it at Presto speed.  At a normal tempo, the piece hits dozens of high notes in only one and a half minutes.  I'm sure at his speed it was only about one minute.  It was so fast, I couldn't breathe correctly.  As Mel Brooks would say - we were going at ludicrous speed.  I barely hung on to complete the unbelievably brief aria.  Keep in mind, that there are many many high notes in this song, and I am a tenor with a full lower resonant sound.  So high notes have lots of body and take quite a bit of energy for me compared to other tenors.  As soon as I finished, the pianist - the maestro - asked me to sing a C (meaning the high C).  I said he would have to wait because I just finished a very difficult and high ending to a Verdi aria. I told him I was more comfortable singing B obviously because it is a little lower and I had an aria with a B in it, but he asked "if we did wait, could you sing a C?".  I said I could not offer them one today. They said they just needed the high notes - that this wasn't a college jury and didn't need to hear my language skills (making reference to the Russian in Lenski's aria).  Then they said, "thank you for coming" and led me out the door.

The high C is a difficult problem for tenors.  Most tenors do not sound very good with a C, and the vast majority of tenor roles do not even go up to a high C.  Yet, we are all judged by "the C" and most unfortunately we are judged against the kings of the high C's - Pavarotti and Florez.  Very honestly, the C is far from my comfort zone and I would only sing it in very specific situations.  I am not Pavarotti, and cannot sing like he did.  Sorry world, I just can't do it.  But, there are many other things that I can offer, and I do things well that Pavarotti did not do well (like sing in English!).

I understand their need to hear what they need to, to make their roster and invite singers, but for the first time, I really felt uncomfortable and given an unfair chance in an audition.  I have worked insatiably hard to complete all that I have.  I feel proud to list my accomplishments like anyone would.  Most of my experience has been with universities and colleges, and for some reason, it would seem that I was penalized for that especially with the crass comment at the end of the audition.  Of course this is not a college jury, but I have given all my attention to perform as best as I can.

I won't give any reason for the small remarks, as I am sure there are many reasons we all become a little grouchy at times and some take advantage of people just for the heck of it and I'm sure they had a stressful and long day of many auditions.  I won't make an excuse for them though, as I truly had an unpleasant experience. I do hope that the rest of my auditions go well.  I am excited for my two auditions scheduled for tomorrow, and I will pretend like this never happened.  I tried my best, under difficult circumstances, and I have hope that this business isn't filled with stereotypical conspiracy theories.  Perhaps this is a great lesson of forgive and forget.  Thankfully, Dusti and I had a great rest of the day and my hope for tomorrow's auditions will motivate me to give it my all. 

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who have bid in the KCVI charity auction.  The auction is supporting scholarships for free music education for Kansas City children and families.  For more information and to view the items, please visit www.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New York Compications

Well, there is not much news to report so far.  Our flight to New York was canceled last night because of weather.  Continental rescheduled the flight for the next morning and that was canceled.  We finally were able to leave to Chicago early Thursday morning and then make it to New York and arrive after my scheduled audition for Chautauqua Opera.

So, I asked Chautauqua if they would allow me to change my audition time.  They are very strict about these situations, but they were gracious enough to give me an audition on Saturday shortly after another audition I have with another company.  This makes me feel much better about the whole fiasco.  Nevertheless, we did some sightseeing once we arrived everything will go as planned.

Expedia gave me a $100 travel voucher for all the trouble, so that was nice as well.

Since we had the evening free, we decided to go see the Broadway musical "Avenue Q".  It was great! Really funny and very entertaining.  The musical is unique because it involves puppets like the Muppets, but it covers more adult plot lines than something like Sesame Street would.

But that is all from the Big Apple so far.  Tomorrow I have an audition in the evening and will update late tomorrow night.  I'm so so tired, so I am going to get some sleep!

Monday, November 29, 2010

New York, New York

Holy smokes! It's been a busy week and will continue to be. I am so excited for the KCVI Charity Auction that kicked off on Friday. There will be many more items listed today, so please go to www.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction or Click Here to see all the current auctions on eBay.

Also, Dusti and I hosted Thanksgiving, which went very well.  All the food turned out great and we always love company.  I feel bad for my parents because their fridge broke the day before Thanksgiving and they were hosting my Dad's side of the family.  What timing!

Dusti and I are anxious to go to New York this week.  I have three auditions this week, one Thursday, one Friday, and one Saturday.  I will be sure to make daily updates - it might be late at night by the time they're online, but I will be sure to let you know how it goes, so please come back to see what happens.

I also have a concert tomorrow night.  It is the "Harvesters" concert - a Christmas concert of sorts - that the Conservatory Singers will be singing in.  It sounds like it will be a big event, and the information is listed below.  So if you are in the area, please come - and we get to sing carols in a congregation setting! (who doesn't love that?)

I also have some good news too!  In the midst of all the Thanksgiving hoopla, I actually completed a lot of homework.  Thank you, coffee.

And I have some bad news, obviously K-State lost on Tuesday to #1 Duke, but on the good side, I was able to see some friends from Manhattan while they were in town for the game.  I had a great time talking to them and catching up.  Also, Wichita Grand Opera did not cast me in their opera in February.  They gave the role to someone in their own company.  There is a good side to this, in that if they are ever in a pickle, they have my number.

Please don't forget to bid in the charity auction.  All the proceeds will go towards free music education for Kansas City children and families.  These will make great Christmas gifts.  Information on "how to bid" can be found at www.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction.  And a special thank you to my mom - she is the eBay mastermind and helped me out so much with the auction.  Love you mom!

With one week to go until the big Monteverdi concert, this week's weird and ancient instrument is (and I love the name) the Rackett






Current Audition Info & Results
Missouri NATS - October 30-31 - 2nd Place Advanced Division
Santa Fe Opera - applied 9/16 - not invited 10/22
Chautauqua Opera (New York) - applied 10/5 - invited 10/22
Wolf Trap Opera (Washington D.C.) - applied 10/8 - not invited 10/18
National Opera Association Competition (San Antonio) - applied 10/12
Crested Butte Opera (Colorado) - applied 10/12 - invited 11/19
Sugar Creek Symphony (Chicago) - applied 10/12 - invited 11/19
Shreveport Opera Competition - applied 10/12
Symphony in the Valley (Colorado) - applied 10/13
Ash Lawn Opera (near Washington D.C.) - applied 10/13

Upcoming concerts:
November 30, 2010 - Harvesters Christmas Concert - Atonement Lutheran Church
December 2, 2010 - Chautauqua Opera Auditions - New York City, NY
December 3, 2010 - Crested Butte Opera Auditions - New York City, NY
December 4, 2010 - Sugar Creek Symphony and Song Auditions - New York City, NY
December 7, 2010 - Featured Soloist - Monteverdi Vespers (400th Anniversary Concert) - Visitation Catholic Church -  Kansas City, MO - 7:30pm
December 12, 2010 - Tenor Soloist - Messiah by Handel - Centennial United Methodist Church - Kansas City, MO - 4:00pm
December 15, 2010 - Voice Juries - UMKC Conservatory
March 17-20, 2011 - Don Giovanni by Mozart - Don Ottavio - White Recital Hall
April 23, 2011 - Gloria by Poulenc - White Recital Hall

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Autographed Melissa Etheridge Album - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed Melissa Etheridge DVD "The Awakening Live"

Award winning singer-songwriter, Melissa Etheridge, has graciously donated an autographed copy of her CD/DVD album “The Awakening Live” to be auctioned in support of her scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. Melissa Etheridge has won two Grammy Awards and the 2007 Academy Award for best Original Song.

The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit her scholarship fund.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Autographed William Bolcom Photo - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed William Bolcom Photo

Pulitzer Prize winning composer, William Bolcom, has graciously donated an autographed photograph to be auctioned in support of his scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. He won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for “12 New Etudes for Piano”, was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 2006, and has won two Grammy Awards.

Photo measures approx. 8" x 10".

The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit his scholarship fund.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Autographed Rebecca Stead Novel - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed Rebecca Stead Novel

Newbery Medal winner, Rebecca Stead, has graciously donated an autographed First Edition copy of her award winning book “When You Reach Me” to be auctioned in support of her scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. She won the 2010 Newbery Medal for her children’s novel “When You Reach Me”. The Newbery Award is annually given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children

The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit her scholarship fund.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Autographed Dalai Lama Photo - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed Dalai Lama Photo

Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Tenzin Gyatso – the 14th Dalai Lama, has graciously donated a hand-signed autographed photo to be auctioned in support of his scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. He won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for consistently opposing the use of violence in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet by advocating peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.

Photo measures approx. 6.5" x 9.5".

The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit his scholarship fund.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Autographed Marilyn Horne Book - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed Marilyn Horne Book

World famous opera singer, Marilyn Horne, has graciously donated an autographed copy of her book “Marilyn Horne: The Song Continues” to be auctioned in support of her scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit her scholarship fund. Marilyn Horne was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1992 and was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995.

This volume also contains a CD with rare live recordings of Marilyn Horne singing solo and with other great singers. In addition, there are 118 photos in a special 64-page photographic tribute.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Friday, November 26, 2010

Autographed Toy Story 3 Film Score - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed Toy Story 3 Film Score

Award winning composer, Randy Newman, has graciously donated an autographed copy of a page from the handwritten film score “Toy Story 3” to be auctioned in support of his scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit his scholarship fund.

The page is an excerpt of the first four measures of the movement entitled “Woody Bails”. “Toy Story 3” was released in 2010 and is currently the fourth highest grossing film in world history. This film score is expected to be nominated for an Academy Award in 2011. Randy Newman won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Song, four Grammy Awards, and three Emmy Awards.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Autographed Avatar Film Score - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed Avatar Film Score

Award winning composer, James Horner, has graciously donated an autographed copy of a page from the film score “Avatar” to be auctioned in support of his scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit his scholarship fund.

This page is an excerpt of the first six measures of the movement entitled “The Battle Begins”. “Avatar” was released in 2009 and is currently the highest grossing film in world history. This film score was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Score in 2009. James Horner has won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and three Grammy Awards.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Autographed Star Wars Film Score - KCVI Charity Auction

Autographed Star Wars Film Score

Award winning composer, John Williams, has graciously donated an autographed copy of the Main Title from the film score “Star Wars” to be auctioned in support of his scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit his scholarship fund.

This film score is regarded as one of the most important and influential film scores in history. The page is an excerpt of the first four measures of the title theme from the Star Wars suite for orchestra from the first Star Wars film, “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”. This specific excerpt, “Main Title”, was awarded a Grammy Award in 1977 for Best Instrument Composition. The entire film score won four Grammy Awards and both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1977. John Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and 21 Grammy Awards.

Click Here to visit the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Yo-Yo Ma Autographed CD - KCVI Charity Auction

Yo-Yo Ma "Solo" Autographed CD

Grammy Award winning cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, has graciously donated an autographed CD “Solo” to be auctioned in support of his scholarship fund through the Kansas City Vocal Institute. The Kansas City Vocal Institute provides free and greatly discounted music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area. 100% of the proceeds from this item will benefit his scholarship fund. Yo-Yo Ma has won 16 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2001.

Click Here to See the KCVI Charity Auction Page

www.kcvocalinstitute.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

Auction!

Well, the stress isn't subsiding, but life is quite exciting right now.  Tonight, Dusti and I will be going to the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City to watch #3 K-State (my alma mater) play #12 Gonzaga.  I will try to hold my excitement in check until the final horn sounds, because I am very excited for the possibility of my team #3 K-State play #1 Duke tomorrow night in the tournament championship.  If K-State wins both of these games, they will likely be the #1 ranked team in the nation - in basketball!  K-State basketball has a great tradition, but it has come miles and miles since I was a little boy.

Sorry to be biased, but it so exciting for me, I just had to mention it.

In opera news, I received a couple more auditions.  They will be in New York next week.  I already was given an audition with Chautauqua Opera on Thursday, December 2, and now I have added Crested Butte Opera
auditions on Friday, December 3, and Sugar Creek Symphony auditions on Saturday, December 4.  Crested Butte is a company in Colorado and Sugar Creek is a company near Chicago.  I am very excited for those and I will give you daily updates when I am in New York.

Last week I mentioned a little bit about Wichita Grand Opera and possibly getting a role with them in a February production.  I heard from them last week again, and they said they would let me know when they have decided, so I just suppose I'll wait.  But, if there is still no response here soon, I will get pretty antsy.

Now, for the most exciting moment of the blog - the announcement of the 2010 Kansas City Vocal Institute Charity Auction.  The auction site is up and running - if it doesn't work on your computer, you will probably need to update your Flash Player - otherwise, go ahead and take a spin. The site is www.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction and all the items are available to look at and read about.  There is a short page explaining how to bid.  The length of each auction will generally be 10 days and it really gets competitive the final day, so keep track of what you are bidding on. The auction will begin on Black Friday - Friday, November 26.  A red "bid now" button will appear next to the item when the auction is live.  Please take time and bid as all the proceeds from the auction will support scholarships for free music education for children and families in the Kansas City metro area.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  We are hosting our first Thanksgiving with Dusti's parents, and I am excited for baking pies!  I am so thankful for you all who have taken time to read my blogs and given me encouragement, thankful for my friends and family - I wish I could be with you all for Thanksgiving, thankful for my wife for being so loving and supportive, thankful for the opera companies, teachers, and schools who have shown interest in me and have given me so many great opportunities, thankful for all the teachers, students, and people who have donated to KCVI, and thankful for being able to do what I love to do.  Have a happy thanksgiving.

And in a Thanksgiving themed edition of this week's weird and ancient instrument in preparation for the 40th Anniversary of the Monteverdi Vespers where I will be featured along with the UMKC Conservatory Singers and the Kansas City and St. Louis Symphony Chamber Ensembles, I present music's turkey - the Launeddas

Here is an audio example of a Launeddas.  I suggest fast forwarding to the last half of the video.  Just in case you want to know why he looks really weird, the performer is using a technique called circular breathing where he pumps air into his cheeks and holds it there so he can breathe in through his nose while pushing air out his mouth with his cheek muscles.  You can try this on your own by blowing out through a straw using your cheeks while breathing in through your nose - it's very difficult though.  And on another nerdy note, I had to look up what a group of turkeys was called the other day - a rafter of turkeys - but what is a group of Launeddas(es) or for that matter what is plural of Launeddas?  Anyway, enjoy.



Current Audition Info & Results
Missouri NATS - October 30-31 - 2nd Place Advanced Division
Santa Fe Opera - applied 9/16 - not invited 10/22
Chautauqua Opera (New York) - applied 10/5 - invited 10/22
Wolf Trap Opera (Washington D.C.) - applied 10/8 - not invited 10/18
National Opera Association Competition (San Antonio) - applied 10/12
Crested Butte Opera (Colorado) - applied 10/12 - invited 11/19
Sugar Creek Symphony (Chicago) - applied 10/12 - invited 11/19
Shreveport Opera Competition - applied 10/12
Symphony in the Valley (Colorado) - applied 10/13
Ash Lawn Opera (near Washington D.C.) - applied 10/13

Upcoming concerts:
November 30, 2010 - Choir Concert - Atonement Lutheran Church
December 2, 2010 - Chautauqua Opera Auditions - New York City, NY
December 3, 2010 - Crested Butte Opera Auditions - New York City, NY
December 4, 2010 - Sugar Creek Symphony and Song Auditions - New York City, NY
December 7, 2010 - Featured Soloist - Monteverdi Vespers (400th Anniversary Concert) - Visitation Catholic Church -  Kansas City, MO - 7:30pm
December 12, 2010 - Tenor Soloist - Messiah by Handel - Centennial United Methodist Church - Kansas City, MO - 4:00pm
March 17-20, 2011 - Don Giovanni by Mozart - Don Ottavio - White Recital Hall
April 23, 2011 - Gloria by Poulenc - White Recital Hallwww.kcvocalinstitute.com/auction