Monday, October 11, 2010

Magical Mr. Mistoffelees

I was sitting in the front office of Meineke at 75th and Metcalf this morning, furious about my wife's car breaking down for the second time in a week, thinking about how I usually handle situations like this.  I usually go through every possible scenario in my head - what if this would happen? or that? what would I do? what would I say? - shaking up the proverbial Pop Bottle of Angst.  All the while, a little baby cat, which the auto workers found hiding in their shop last Sunday, jumps up towards my hand dangling from the end of the arm of the lobby couch.   She attacks it, stabbing my hand with her little baby razor claws, only to walk up on my shoulder towards my face.  She licks my nose then jumps down into my lap and buries herself in between my leg and the crack between two seat cushions.  I pet her and she began to purr and eventually fell asleep even amidst the noise of Divorce Court on the shop's satellite TV, which was breaking up into static because of the continuous rainfall throughout the morning, Led Zeppelin blasting in the shop garage, with revving engines, the buzz of a giant industrial fan, and intermittent bangs from the shop's side door that lost its recoil spring.

I guess we all find peace in our own stressful worlds.

And, in the end, it can always be more stressful - the shop might find a stray dog!

This week was full of ups and downs.  I had some serious sinus problems earlier in the week, which made singing dangerously difficult - not to mention breathing and staying alive difficult as well!

As I wrote before, I am covering the tenor lead for an opera called the Dialogues of the Carmelites by Poulenc.  These rehearsals are underway, and this is the first time that I have covered a role.  Essentially, I have no assurance that I will ever perform it, but in case someone becomes sick or has to leave for some reason, I will be the back-up.  Hopefully for my sake, everyone will be healthy and conflict free - if not for their sake as well.

I visited Manhattan a couple of times last week.  I went to the last K-State vs. Nebraska football game (unfortunately this did not go very well).  If you haven't heard, Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten Conference next year, so this was the last meeting between one of K-State's biggest rivals.  The game was sold out and very loud.  However, one of the craziest things happened to me.

I went to the game with my friend Evan and our seats were right next to the Nebraska marching band.  All around us were other Cornhusker fans except for the couple next to us who were obviously cheering for K-State.  If you didn't get to see the game...good!  If you did, you would know that we were pummeled with 80 yard rushing play after 80 yard rushing play.  About half-way through the game, the couple barged past us - the guy apologizing profusely because of his girlfriend's nose bleed.  I was thinking of several sly remarks like, "there's no need to get that upset, at least we're not KU" and "shouldn't she be bleeding purple?" and "if that was their first date, what a great way to get past the awkwardness".  As these thoughts were slipping past my frontal lobe, I casually looked at my arm only to see a streak of red blood running right down the middle of it.

A K-State fan nose-bled on my arm!

Evan wouldn't let me wipe it off on his shirt, and I didn't want to miss the game, still holding on to the hope of a fourth quarter 35 point comeback.  So, I only had two options: (1) pick off the stadium floor, the slightly soggy popcorn leftovers that missed their target, and wipe off the blood, popped kernel by popped kernel or (2) wipe it off on my brand new black shirt.  I chose the latter.

This will rank up at the top as one of the more awkward moments of my life, not excluding the time a white bengal tiger peed on me in Salina or the time that NFL star Darren Sproles accidentally tackled me in a hallway squirt gun fight, in my boxers, in the middle of the night, in Haymaker Hall.

Besides that, I had a meeting to begin planning SCI, Summer Choral Institute, for next year with Dr. Yu and Oppenheim, and I was able to see their new baby boy, Noah.  I finalized the business incorporating and banking stuff for KCVI.  And, I went to see the K-State choir concert - which was fantastic.  I was so impressed by their musicality.  I was struck by the thought that I love to perform so much, that I cannot separate that from being an audience member.  Perhaps only performers understand this, but musicality is so personal, I feel I can never fully appreciate the expression unless I am expressing it myself - like the feeling of singing to the radio, or in the shower.  It's always better than just listening.  It was so difficult to be an audience member, precisely because I enjoyed it so much!

On Sunday, my wife's parents, sister, her boyfriend, and I all went to get pumpkins.  We carved them into typical Halloween figures - mine was a skull - and I baked the pumpkin seeds for a nice little snack. If you are wondering, they were ok - it's more of a novelty than anything.  Then I went with some of my friends to see a stand up comedian in the beautiful Midland Theatre in downtown Kansas City.  It was hilarious!

Like most of the week, the ups were followed by abrupt downs, and Monday appeared to be a big fall down.  We did however get the car repaired and the auto mechanic's kitten magically changed my day for the better.  I had a recording session that went very well, and I found out that I will be the tenor soloist for the 400th Anniversary of the Monteverdi Vespers.  The concert information is below, but it will be sung by the Conservatory Singers and with a symphony of period instruments - including everyone's favorite, the Sackbut!

Have a splendid week.  Hopefully Divorce Court and Led Zeppelin won't keep you from living peacefully!

Oh! Well I never! Was there ever
A cat so clever as magical Mr. Mistoffelees!
T.S. Elliot

(all the musicians have probably and wrongly assumed that I was talking about the song from "Cats" by Andrew Lloyd Webber - I wanted to spare the world the torture - but if your curious, here you go)

Current Audition Info
Santa Fe Opera - applied - 9/16
Chautauqua Opera (New York) - applied - 10/5
Wolf Trap Opera (Washington D.C.) - applied - 10/8

Upcoming concerts:
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 29, 2010 - Missouri State NATS competition - Central Missouri University - TBA
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 - Tenor Soloist - Monteverdi Vespers (400th Anniversary Concert) - Visitation Catholic Church -  Kansas City, MO - 7:30pm
March 17-20, 2011 - Don Giovanni by Mozart - Don Ottavio - White Recital Hall
April 23, 2011 - Gloria by Poulenc - White Recital Hall


  1. Haha! I enjoyed this blog post, especially the first paragraph. Creative writing. The whole thing was actually very fun.

  2. Thanks Brent! It was a rainy day, and I had a big cup of coffee to help.

  3. Ditto Brent! I should have saved the stray kitten we found last weekend just for you and Dusti. Sounds like that might be just what you need right now....sort of like how Kiah makes us feel better no matter how bad our day may have been.

    Congrats on Vespers as well as Messiah! Dad and I are thrilled for you.

  4. Thanks Mom, Dusti nixed the kitten idea unfortunately. You are right about pets, they always love you no matter what - or they seem to.


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