What a week it was! Since last Monday it seems like a lot has happened. I guess every week is that way. But on Tuesday last week I was asked to sing on a masterclass which was held today at UMKC. But, before I get to that, I have to say that I loved seeing all the folks at UUMC in Salina last Thursday. Unfortunately, it was not under the circumstances that we all would have wished for, but I felt we all honored Joan Pierson in a great way. I will definitely miss her; she was one of my biggest supporters, and I was honored to sing at her memorial service. When I visit UUMC this weekend, I will still see her sitting near the window smiling a giant smile like she always did.
I was also thankful to see my parents and puppy Kiah as well last Thursday, but I had to get back to Kansas City for classes on Friday and rest before the very eventful gameday on Saturday in Manhattan. If you don't already know, Dusti and I have season football tickets for K-State football, but this game was really interesting. An enormous storm rolled in only 8 plays into the game.
The game was halted because of lightning and Dusti and I snook in to the Club Level and watched the rotating clouds blow by with 60 mph winds and a torrential rain. Oddly enough, the old adage about Kansas is true, wait 15 minutes and the weather will change, because about 5 minutes after I got back into my seat after the storm, there was sunshine and clear blue sky with a slight breeze from the North. K-State ended up winning with a dramatic fourth quarter comeback to beat UCF. The game-winning touchdown came with only 24 seconds left on the clock! It was really exciting!
On Sunday, Dusti and I went to the Plaza Art Fair. It was a great way to spend our Sunday. The weather was beautiful and there were so many amazing artists displaying their paintings, photos, sculptures, etc. However, the highlight for me was my lunch (as always)! We ate a Blanc Burger, which is a swanky and semi-fancy burger place in the Plaza district. They served some of the craziest burgers - and crazy expensive too - but my favorite part were the truffle fries. They are fries fried in truffle butter oil. And, it may have been the most unhealthy thing I have ever eaten, but I somehow convinced myself to eat it. They were easily the most incredible fries I have ever eaten. I am excited to go back!
Then today, I sang on a masterclass taught by a vocal coach George Darden who was the assistant conductor of the Metropolitan Opera for 21 years. He retired in 2006, but he was a great guy. I was asked to give him three options to pick from, which is somewhat rare for a masterclass. I had him pick from Questa o quella from Rigoletto, Lenski's Aria from Eugene Onegin, and an art song called Nebbie. He selected Lenski's Aria and I had a great time working with him. I was not very consistent, and a little careless on some of the skips past the passagio, but all-in-all it was ok. He seemed to enjoy it and gave me a lot of tips on musicality, which he said at the end that he didn't mind if I forgot everything he said - they were just his ideas, and I did like some of them. I find a lot of Americans like to overact this aria, but it is mostly intimate and inward angst, nothing to shout out to high heaven about. I very much appreciated that he cared for this and even enjoyed a more strict approach to singing it without much rubato. In other words, he wanted me to sing exactly what was written on the page and not get too carried away with my musicality. I did have a tendency to become too involved at the climax of the piece, but what the heck, it's Russian music. I can't feel too bad about having too much passion! My favorite quote of his was when he was describing opera saying: "It's the Olympics of music." Now he's talking my language!
Anyway, I had a great time listening to the other three singers. All of them were amazing. I am looking forward to coming to Salina this weekend and giving out CDs of many of the solos I have sang while I was at UUMC. They will be free, but I will also ask for a free will donation. Everything that is raised will be used as a scholarship in UUMC's name to provide one or several children here in Kansas City with free private music lessons as part of KCVI. And on October 1, the Kansas City Vocal Institute will give its October update at the KCVI Magazine blog.
September 27, 2010 - Masterclass with George Darden - White Recital Hall - 4pm
October 3, 2010 - University United Methodist Church - Salina, KS - 1st & 2nd Services
October 3, 2010 - Choir Concert - White Recital Hall - 5pm
October 17, 2010 - Solo Performance of English Art Song - (will update as soon as I get the info)
October 19, 2010 - Choir Concert - White Recital Hall - 7:30
October 30, 2010 - KSU Alumni Choir Concert - St. Thomas Moore Church - Manhattan, KS - 2pm
November 10, 2010 - Singing Der Lindenbaum on John Mueter Presentation - Grant Hall 122 - 3pm
November 18-21, 2010 - The Dialogues of the Carmelites by Poulenc - Chevalier de la Force (cover) - White Recital Hall
November 30, 2010 - Choir Concert - Atonement Lutheran Church
December 7, 2010 - Monteverdi Vespers (400th Anniversary Concert) - Visitation Catholic Church (I will be auditioning for the tenor soloist)
March 17-20, 2011 - Don Giovanni by Mozart - Don Ottavio - White Recital Hall
April 23, 2011 - Gloria by Poulenc - White Recital Hall