Monday, October 31, 2011

Opera University: Auditions 101 (week 2)

To see last week's lesson - click here

Week 2
"Reflections on Awful Superheroes"

Imagine that you are in the fictional world of Gotham and Kryptonite, and you are the person in charge of finding another superhero for the Justice League of America.  The Justice League of America has been featured in many comics since the 1960s and it is the superteam of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and (believe it or not) the Martian Manhunter. So, let's assume that Martian Manhunter was kicked out and they had to find a new superhero. These contestants walk into the audition screening, show their super powers, and walk out.  Which one would you choose?

Matter Eater Lad
Matter Eater Lad - That's right, he can eat through anything. Don't mind digging, he'll eat a hole through the mountain.  You won't drown, because he'll eat the whole ocean! The obvious question is how he gets rid of the bad guys.  Is he a cannibal?

Cypher - Obviously, this guy's superhero talent is that he can decipher anything like codes or languages.  As one blogger stated "he's pretty much a translator".  He doesn't have any fighting capabilities though, just a mind like Data from Star Trek.

Dogwelder - As odd as it sounds, this guy welds dead stray dogs to villains' faces.  Believe it or not, that's about it.  He must be a little crazy, and certainly this would not qualify as a superpower.  But it would certainly be effective crime fighting.  As one person describes it, "You try to rob a bank and you end up with a Lhasa Apso welded to your face, yapping for eternity. *shudder* "


And finally, Skateman - This is pretty lame!  In short, he's an ex-Vietnam War vet and roller derby star that goes mad after a Mexican gang kills his friend in a roller derby crash by loosening his roller skate wheel.  He goes around in a ridiculous costume only to get beaten up by the gang...didn't see that coming!  His only apparent superpowers are bad luck and a quick-curing drink, an herbal shake, that his girlfriend made called (pause five seconds to keep from laughing) Skater-aid.

 Now, which one of these would you choose to be in the same group of Superman, Batman, and the like?  Probably none.  And why?  Well, they aren't superhero-like.  They don't advertise themselves well - who wants a dogwelder? a skateman?

Opera is a lot like the "BAM!, KAPOW!" world of superhero comic strips. To be an opera singer, you must obviously audition for roles. The very first thing that any opera singer must do to have a successful audition, is to be granted an audition in the first place.

This usually requires you to submit several things:

1. A Headshot (this is a picture of yourself from the neck up - of course the sexier...I mean, more professional you look, the better this will play to your advantage.)

It is understood, that because this is a visual art, there is some strength in being a good-looking person.  Also, it should look like yourself; they will remember you by this photo.  If you look like James Bond in the picture, but Mr. Magoo in real life, they will certainly have doubts about you.

2. A Resume (keep in mind that this is opera - Companies want to know what performance experience that you have.)

This could be divided up in several ways.  I devote the first section to opera roles, and include the role, opera, company/school, and year - the most recent at the top.  The next section is other performance experience, including concerts featuring me as a soloist.  The third section, I include my teacher and past teachers, coaches (there's a difference between coaches and teachers; we'll talk about it another time), and any masterclasses that I have been the soloist for, obviously including the masterclass teacher. Then, I list my education: degree, school, and year graduated. Finally, I list my recent and major awards.  Another good thing to add is a small picture of yourself in the upper corner of the resume.  This helps the reader immediately put your information to a face.

Now, if this whole resume thing is overwhelming because you don't have much experience, it is ok.  There are many programs out there that want to hear new singers.  Many new singers first go to a pay-to-sing program and are able to fill up a resume with the names of many teachers and coaches, and perhaps several roles to add to their resume.  Companies want to know that you are a singer; nothing else is as important as that.  So, the more performing that you do, the more attractive you are to people out there.

3. Several Recordings (you MUST be able to sing your butt off, and sing these arias as perfectly as you can)  This is primarily what companies will be interested in when you apply.  Make sure you are as perfect as you can be, and find a good accompanist to record with you.  This can be expensive for some, paying hundreds of dollars in accompanist fees, but if the recording is great and lands you some good gigs, then it is worth it.  With that said, I personally try to find friends or professors to accompany me for free first, before I go out to find someone that I have to pay an arm and a leg to.  If you don't have the means already, you can buy simple recording equipment at Best Buy.  Don't think you have to spend thousands of dollars on can be done for cheap, and still result in a great recording.

4.  References (you'll acquire these over time - but many times you will have to submit one or several names and contact email) It is often debated how useful these are, but sure enough, it is always a good thing to make connections in this small industry.

5. Pay an Application Fee (unfortunately, many companies require this typically between $35-$50 each)  These companies have to be able to pay people to listen to all the live auditions, and fly them to New York, and put them up in a New York hotel.  It's a small price to pay, especially if it is for a great opportunity.  It is important to budget this, especially if you are planning on applying to many places.

This submission process is very important, in that it is your way to self-promote your talent.  You have to give them your best:  an awesome recording, a professional (sexy but not too sexy) picture, and a resume with great things and accomplishments on it.  If you don't have these yet, take the time to get a good promotional package together first.

Superman is awesome.  Batman is cool.  Aquaman is lame (talks to fish? seriously!?). The Powerpuff Girls get it.  It's all about how you advertise yourself.  This even applies to the audition itself.  You have to look the part, and look professional, and attractive (but not too attractive), and of course display your awesome super talent of operatic singing.

Next time

The Audition
"Nerves and Uncontrollable Shaking, Fainting, Peeing, and Vomiting"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Opera University: Auditions 101

I know that I am only 26, and am just beginning to see success in Auditioning.  Hopefully, this will be of some help to those of you out there who are just starting.  Of course this will be a series of posts - and like every great professor, I will assign some reading, and teach by assigning even more reading!

Welcome to Auditions 101!

(bell rings)

The class of fearful opera singers, leisurely talking, is interrupted by my grand entrance into the classroom.  Taking long broad strides, chest and nose properly raised to its correct smugness level, making sure as to never face away (upstage) of my pupils, I inhale with great intensity, as though I could change the future of the earth upon the uttering of my next words. "Good morning class," speaking with rude contempt towards consonants - angrily forcing them out, raining a shower of spit across the desks in the front row.  "Please open your text books to page (with great pause and theatrical anticipation) one", I proclaim.  The class, awkwardly looking slightly above me, pauses, and then obeys, once the supertitles on the power-point screen catch up.  These were opera singers after all.  And finally having the gravitas of Mephistopheles, I summon the lights to dim towards a deep blood-red, saturating the room.  "Attention class, your assignment today is to (smoke billowing, drums and bugles blasting in the distance, lightning and thunder clash, only to suddenly diminish to silence....the lights flickering back to blue-white...and in a mundane, Ben Stein-like voice I continue) read through chapter one."  The students, in total shock and confusion, slowly open their books.

(This is great, as a tenor, I never get to play the bad guy)

A Concise Survival Guide to Opera Auditions - First Edition
Chapter 1: The Most Dangerous Game

One of the most loved short stories in American History is Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game - a story about a man invited to go on a safari hunting expedition, but having lost his way, ends up finding refuge at a small inhabited island, where a wealthy aristocrat set up a private hunting colony. Unfortunately, he would find out, that he wasn't going to be hunting, but was to be hunted!  That's right, The Most Dangerous Game, are people! (in the end, the hunted killed the hunter!)

Fortunate or unfortunate as it may be, you are a person.  Once you get over that concept, you will be on your way to a great career in opera!

That's right, to be successful, you must embrace everything that it is to be a person - failure, stupidity, nerves, allergies...the whole package.  Also, you must acknowledge that you always are competing against other people in normal life - competing for attention, looks, praise, love, etc.  Whether you like it or not, that is how humans work.  You might as well embrace it.

But, how does opera fit in to this?  Well, to be successful in opera, you must be your best self to be able to successfully compete against other people for gigs at an audition.

Assuming you have had some great schooling, and can correctly sing, without any major technical issues, and that you naturally have a large enough voice to be competitive in the professional opera world, you should begin to consider auditioning for some opera companies.

One great resource is,  You should apply, pay the annual fee, and start reading through the several thousand auditions that are posted on their site.  If you are just beginning, you should seriously consider some pay-to-sings.  Obviously, you must pay to be a part of those programs, but eventually you will work your way up to apprentice programs and eventually to the professional world of mainstage productions. Read my previous blog post on Young Artist Programs if you would like more information on how the process works.

But, that is for another time.  For now, you must consider what it takes to live this opera lifestyle.  Opera is rough and tough.  No one is perfect, but you are always, always, always measured against perfection.  This is why it is good to remember who you are...a person.  It's ok to lose.  It's ok to fail.  It's ok not to be perfect.  On the other hand, you are "the most dangerous game."  And you, despite your deficiencies, can still win people's attention, love, and praise, and win an audition for the biggest roles out there.

So first thing is first:  you must have a good ego!  Some egos are more dominating than Miss Piggy.  But, for all who love the Muppets, who is the real hero?...that's right, Kermit!

See, you don't have to have a nasty, humanity-crushing ego that tramples over everyone's mother and dog.  No, you just have to keep one that will help you shrug off all those negative things, and keep you in a fighting spirit.  You can only do your best...nothing more.  Sorry, but you will not be the greatest singer of all time.  However, you can still dream of the big time at the Met or La Scala, because thousands of singers who aren't the greatest of all time have sang there.

So if you are just beginning (still assuming that you have a pristine voice), get out there and apply to places.  Apply to everything!  Don't think it takes luck to make it big; you have to put yourself in the position to be lucky.  You will learn the most simply from experience.  And, like anyone who has cheated in a drawing before knows, if you apply a bunch of times, the chances are better that you will win one of those times.

With that said, and I can't say it enough, this is all assuming that you are an educated and hard working singer.  You first must know technique, music fundamentals, and several languages (in other words, go to school!).  Then you must learn opera rep.  Then you must practice it until you can sing it as perfectly as you possibly can.  And then you should you go out and show the world what you've got.

Keep in mind, there are thousands of other singers out there with big egos that are trying to be the most perfect and dangerous singer that they can be.  What are you going to do to compete with them?

(next time)

Chapter 2:
Self-Promotion - Reflections on Awful Superheroes


Monday, October 17, 2011

Top 10 Strangest Musical Deaths

Last Tuesday, I almost died!  I was sitting in the Roman Bath at the Conservatory here in Kansas City, working on my Schenkerian analysis of a Beethoven sonata (Pathetique Sonata - appropriately!) and a gigantic fluorescent light bulb crashed to the ground and exploded with a fine dust of cancerous filament and gas just four feet in front of me.  My reaction, for some reason, was to cover my ears...way to go Evolution - it looks like I'm on the genetic losing side of reactionary survival instincts.  Thereby shocked into contemplating my own death, I decided to make a list of the 10 strangest musical deaths - all are not musicians, but all have a direct impact in music history.  I know there are many to chose from, but I have searched long and hard for these!


#10.  Mike Edwards (cellist) famous for his career with the Electric Light Orchestra, was driving down a country road on the afternoon of September 3, 2010 when he would unknowingly encounter his murderer.  Though he never knew it was coming, this phantom assassin crushed him and the cab of his car, killing him instantly and causing a traffic jam in rural England.  So, what was this lethal enigma? A half-ton hay bale!

#9.  Gustav Kobbe (musicologist) famous for The Complete Opera Book, had a favorite hobby of sailing.  On July 27, 1918, he was sailing in a small boat in the Great South Bay by Long Island, NY and was hit by a landing seaplane.  He was killed instantly.  Keep in mind that the odds of dying in this manner are incredibly slim by today's standards, and imagine how much more rare that would be in 1918.  The seaplane was only invented in 1905.  He was amazingly unlucky!

#8.  Taylor Mitchell (singer) famous as being an award-winning solo Canadian folk singer, went hiking on October 27, 2009 in a Canadian National Park in Nova Scotia, where she would be attacked by two coyotes.  Two hikers arrived at the scene and called emergency officials.  She was flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital, but died overnight.  She is only the second person ever recorded as being killed by coyotes (the only other fatality being a 3 year-old from Oregon in 1981).

#7.  Jean-Baptiste Lully (composer) was arguably the most important, influential, and famous composer of the 17th century.  He was the court composer for the infamous French enlightened despot, King Louis XIV.  On January 8, 1687, Lully was conducting a Te Deum (a Catholic hymn usually written to celebrate an event) celebrating the King's recovery from an illness (I guess "Get Well" balloons aren't enough for some people!).  While conducting, Lully stabbed himself in the toe with his baton - in those days, batons were giant staffs like a drum major in a band uses.  He subsequently acquired gangrene because he refused to have his toe amputated and he died on March 22nd, thereby ending one of the greatest careers in music history.

Second Viennese School Composers: Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern - The Second Viennese school was known for inventing Serialism, a style of composition that involves using a mathematical system to essentially write the music for a given piece.  These three are arguably the most influential composers of modern music.  Their reputation is not that great among most audiences who have had to cringe at a horrid cacophony of random screeches and blips, but they were actually very talented and intelligent.  Their music was shocking to most musicians of their time, and their deaths were equally bizarre. 

#6 Arnold Schoenberg, the inventor of Serialism, significantly suffered from triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13).  He purposefully misspelled and changed the name to his most famous opera Moses und Aaron to Moses und Aron because the former has 13 letters, and there are many, many other examples of his paranoia.  Having been born on September 13, he was paranoid throughout his life that he would die in a year that was a multiple of 13.  And so on his 76th birthday, he was very anxious when his astrologer wrote him an note saying that this would be a "critical year (7 + 6 = 13)".  Schoenberg was very upset because he had only considered multiples of 13 and not other associations with the number 13.  Appropriately, Schoenberg died on Friday, July 13, of that year (1951) knowing full well his apparent and ironic fate.

#5 Anton Webern, was sitting on his porch after curfew on September 15, 1945 near the end of World War II, when American soldiers approached his house.  They were there to arrest Webern's son for selling items on the black market.  One American entered and arrested his son without incident, while Webern, shocked and anxious, lit a cigar at the same moment that his arrested son with the American exited the house.  This startled the American, who instinctively, after seeing the glow of the match, mistook it for a flash from a pistol.  The scared American, without thought, fired in the direction of the light and killed Webern at the age of 61.

#4 Alban Berg, unfortunately living in squalor and poverty, was stung by a bee in Vienna, Austria in 1935.  This developed a large carbuncle on his back.  Because of their living conditions, he refused to go to a hospital and instead had his wife perform an operation to clear the dead skin using a pair of scissors.  Berg contracted blood poisoning and died on Christmas Eve at the age of 50.

#3 Grigori Rasputin (Russian Orthodox Monk) arguably caused the eventual fall of the Russian Tzars that lead to the Bolshevik Revolution in the early 20th century.  Rasputin has been the figure for many songs and operas over the last 100 years.  His death was astoundingly complicated and gruesome - perfect fodder for opera composers.  He was a political evil among many Russians - he often spoke negatively against the Tzarist regime.  So, he was first stabbed by an ex-prostitute for the negative remarks, slicing his belly open allowing the intestines to fall out.  She ran away yelling "I have killed the antichrist!".  He, amazingly, survived this attack.  Shortly after his recovery, he was lured by several Princes to a cellar where he ate bread laced with cyanide and drank wine also laced with cyanide.  He consumed five times the lethal dose, before he vomited it all up because of excessive heart burn, and survived the attempted murder.  Minutes later, the Prince, after seeing his survival, shot him in the back.  Rasputin fell forward and the Prince and his friends left.  One returned shortly after to retrieve a coat he left and found Rasputin there, wounded but alive.  Rasputin got up and attempted to strangle him, but the rest of the group, hearing the struggle, returned only to shoot Rasputin three more times.  He fell to ground, shockingly still alive, Rasputin would then be clubbed, beaten into submission, bound in cloth, and thrown into a river (still alive).  His body was recovered and upon an autopsy it was determined that he in fact died (amazingly) by drowning.

#2 Tennesse Williams (librettist) famous for many plays, subsequently turned into operas, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Streetcar Named Desire, had a significant drug and alcohol problem.  Because of this, several bodily functions failed to work correctly for him.  On February 25, 1983, Williams put eye drops in his eye, as he did often, and in typical fashion, unscrewed the cap, and placed it between his teeth, tilted his head back to place the drops in his eyes, and accidentally inhaled the cap, choking to death at the age of 71.  His intoxication at the time kept his gag reflex from working correctly.

#1 Gyorgy Dozsa (leader of a Hungarian peasants' revolt) is the protagonist of several operas, the most famous being by Erkel, led tens of thousands of peasants in battle against the King of Hungary.  He was not successful, and had a completely ridiculously-awful death on July 20, 1514 - one that makes for a good opera evidently.  Because he was mocked for wanting to dethrone the King, thereby making himself the ruler of Hungary, his captors had him sit on an iron throne, heated by fire until it was glowing, after (obviously) making him hold a red-hot iron scepter and after placing a red-hot iron crown on his head.  But, that wasn't enough entertainment for his captors, as he sat, literally cooking away, one of the soldiers stabbed him with an iron pick, charring his skin and the wound.  Then they brought nine of his compatriots in front of him, which they had starved for a week, and told them to eat the flesh off of the wound.  The first, Dozsa's brother, did not, and was decapitated in front of the dying Dozsa.  The others, afraid of their fate, and starving, ate off of Dozsa, who eventually died from the torture.  I can't believe people have made this story into an opera - sickos! 

I make lists all the time, but here are two favorites:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Flibbertigibbets and Bananas

Both myself and my computer were sick last week, the latter having an awful problem in that whenever I pressed the "b" or the "n" on the keyboard, a million Windows Help screens would pop up and freeze my computer.  Finally, after two days, I rewrote the registry (a difficult process!) and disabled the part that was causing all the trouble.  And, I am so excited to write a lot of B's and N's once again!

Unfortunately, that has taken up so much time, that I will have to postpone the first post describing my audition process, but until then I will get you caught up on everything from this crazy week.  On Wednesday, I sang in a masterclass for Diana Soviero, a very famous opera singer.

I was asked to sing Questa o quella from Rigoletto. I had to wait silently for an entire hour before I went on, but when I sang, I completely botched the ending.  I had to wait for so long that my voice wasn't warmed-up right.  But,  we worked on my highest notes for the entire time.  It turned out to be a great thing because those notes ended up having great space and ring.  She was teaching me to do some bad habits that in the end cured some of my other bad habits.  Whatever the case, I will have to find a way to replicate that sound in performance (because it was awesome) without looking too crazy.  For instance, she had me cover my teeth with my lips, which gave some extra cover to my high notes, kind of like this picture:

Who knew they made pictures like this?  Anyway, then she had me sing out of the side of my mouth, like Bryn Terfel, or in this case, Jerry Springer:

It doesn't look pretty, but it sounds awesome.  Later on Wednesday, after being told several times that the opera Turandot would be sold out at the new Kauffman Center here in Kansas City, I took a chance and went there in person to see if I could buy an unused ticket or get a standing room ticket.  Well, I got there and asked, but right when I was doing that, their computer system broke down.  During the 20 minutes that I was waiting, I talked to the manager and we talked about the grand opening and how amazing it was to sing on stage that night, and by the end of our talk, he just decided to give me a comp ticket!  And, I could pick a seat from either the middle of the 2nd row or a seat in a suite - one of the boxes that overlooks the stage!  I chose the suite so I could hear and see everything well.

It was amazing - an enormous production.  The singers were great, Liu (Elizabeth Caballero) soared above the orchestra with her delicate high notes, Turandot (Lise Lindstrom) was powerful, dark but beautiful, Timur (Samuel Ramey) was obviously a great dramatic voice and certainly an honor to see live, and Calaf (Arnold Rawls) made it through - he is the tenor (and if you don't know Turandot, it is the opera that Nessun Dorma is from).  I hate to be critical of a tenor, but he had a tough night at my showing, in that it took him an enormous amount of energy and heft to get through the high notes, but he did - it just looked very painful at times.  The most exciting part of the show for me was the dramatic staging.  Before scene 2 of Act 2, the stage transforms into the King's Palace, and a gigantic set moved forward from the back of the stage silently, enormous 100 ft. tall statues descended from the ceiling; it was so well done that it could have been a movie camera effect if I forgot that I was in an opera house.  The finale was also a great explosion of color that was gorgeous to watch.  The opera began with snow falling on stage and ended with thousands of flower petals falling like confetti during the final chorus number.  The costuming was very elaborate as well, especially for the Princess Turandot.

On the downside, the sets were a little too minimalist - a lot like the Met's new production of Tosca.  The orchestra, as great as it was, overplayed the treble heavy instruments like the piccolo among other things - perhaps higher pitches bother me more than most, but it was almost painful at times.  Also, and this has nothing to do with the production, but at my showing I think everyone was suffering from whooping cough.  I think coughing is very distracting, because I am intently listening to the quality of the sound.  Every cough disrupts that.  Sound is sacred to musicians, we respond to it and absorb it in every sense.  Coughing is as annoying to musicians as instant replay commercial breaks are to football fans - one or two are ok, but after five or six we want to throw something.

Finally, I have some new KVCI donors to tell you about.  We will again be having our celebrity auction this winter, and I have already announced some participants in that.  This year, new to our charity event and along with new scholarships in their names, I am happy to announce that Donald Trump is wanting to contribute and we will support a scholarship and have items from him in our auction.  Also, Eric Whitacre is renewing his scholarship and this year for the auction, he has graciously offered to compose, by hand, a one page music manuscript signed and dedicated at the request of the winning bidder.  This is a really exciting and unique offer!  Also, I have been talking with the famous soprano, Joyce DiDonato, and she has shown great interest as well.  Nothing has been "set in stone" yet, but I expect that we will incorporate a scholarship in her name in the very near future.

In the meantime, it is offer to opera rehearsal for a production of Le nozze di Figaro (the Marriage of Figaro) in November.

To see my performance schedule, please visit

Monday, October 3, 2011

Opera Singers Under Water & On Fire!

I know you all love the "good ol' days" of a brown globe background and the lovely orange links and titles of this old blog.  But as conservative as you may be - "times, they are a changin'".  The simple fact remains: it is somewhat ugly, and since last month saw more visitors to this blog than ever before - I think it's time to change to something more modern.  Soon, this will be the new look for my blog:

You can go ahead and try it out right now, but I am still trying to get all the kinks worked out.

Evidently, I have to step it up in the content department to keep this as entertaining as the last month has been.  Last month alone, I've had readers from 40 countries around the world - visitors from every continent!  Thank you all!  But seriously, I don't know how to top all of the Kauffman Center and Placido Domingo excitement.

But I'll take another shot at it with the help of some German ingenuity.  Anyone who knows me, knows my fascination with anything German (I think it's in my blood).  Well, over the summer, I was told of something crazy going on over there, and I just had to do some research on it.  And what is this showcase of German ingenuity? Underwater Opera!?

I wonder what it was like to audition for the role of Shelf Ice?

Obviously the large "environmentalist" overtone cannot be missed with the trash cans on the pool floor.  But a floating-plastic-bag-littering chorus!? - now that is art!  If you didn't catch it (because you don't understand German) they recorded sounds from 100 meters below the sea ice in Antarctica and played a mix of those sounds in the opera itself.   I am seriously impressed in one sense, that there is an area culturally healthy enough to support an endeavor like this.  HOWEVER, this whole thing is quite a strange idea.  Plus, the point of operatic singing is to sing acoustically (without amplification).  I would like to see the audience get some goggles and a snorkeling mask and have to listen to the underwater portions without the use of recording equipment - like the perspective in the following aria.

I was certainly interested to see what else these singers performed.  Low and behold they have made a "Flame Opera" where the characters literally burn themselves alive (with protective clothing, natürlich). I am wondering (and perhaps I should patent this idea) if the composer wrote in coughing attacks, for rhythmic purposes obviously. Take a look:

And then there is the more subtle "Culinary Opera" that uses the sounds of preparing a meal as the accompaniment.

The Flame Opera, awesome! The Underwater Opera, really awesome! But as for the Culinary Opera, I seriously need more ice cream and less nagging!  Watching her complain and cook, I can't help but feel as though I did something wrong, but have no idea what it was or why...guys, you know the feeling.  But the ideas are awesome.  I can't wait to find out what they do next.

Anyway, hopefully that's enough entertainment (torture) for right now.  If you hear of any other odd opera productions, I would love to hear about it - email me at

Next week, I will start a segment about my audition process and how I go about preparing and actually performing in an audition - you'll know about all the places that I'm applying to as well.

This week, I will be performing a masterclass with Diana Soviero. She has performed at the Met, La Scala, the Royal Opera house, Paris Opera, etc.  I am very excited, and I will hopefully let you know how that goes as well.

Lastly, I wanted to let you know about how this year's KCVI Celebrity Auction is coming along.  Last week, I began contacting musicians, artists, authors, athletes, and other celebrities about donating to the Kansas City Vocal Institute to begin a scholarship in their names, providing voice lessons to area children and families here in Kansas City.  Well, already I have been in talks with the Kansas City Chiefs - nothing official yet, but I'm hoping to hear some good news from them.  However Zubin Mehta (one of the greatest conductors on earth), who donated last year, has contributed again this year to continue his scholarship fund.  This year we will be auctioning an autographed baton from him, and as always, whatever we earn will support his scholarship fund.

And the Kansas City Royals have graciously donated to the Kansas City Vocal Institute to begin a new scholarship.  This winter we will be auctioning some tickets for next year's baseball season.  And, if you are not a baseball fan, the Royals are the host for next year's All Star Game.  So it will be an exciting year, and you will be able to bid on those this holiday season.

For more, including my upcoming schedule, please visit

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