Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Too Much Excitement!

I have some great news to share with the world!   First, I just found out yesterday, that I have been awarded the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship from Yale University!  With recommendations from some amazing people and through a rigorous application process, I was selected to be one of the singers performing at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, which is held at Yale University in August.  The Festival is North America's oldest music festival and attracts many of the world's leading composers and musicians.  Essentially, I will be performing - and rehearsing - the whole time.  This fellowship is a prestigious honor to me, since it recognizes academic achievement in a real way - one that collaboratively makes music with the world's leading musicians.  Plus, I've never been able to be of interest to an Ivy league school, so now I can gratuitously flaunt my new-found Connecticut accent - obviously in boat shoes and fluffy cravat!  I am very excited and I hope that this will help me in many ways.  http://music.yale.edu/norfolk/

Second, I was asked early last week by the Kansas City Symphony to sing as a soloist on their upcoming Education Series concerts.  These concerts have been sold-out since sometime in November.  I will be singing at Helzberg Hall in a unique situation.  If you are old enough to remember, Leonard Bernstein offered Young People's Concerts on national television from the Symphony Hall at Lincoln Center.  He had the New York Philharmonic play famous music for children who would come and learn about what a whole-tone scale was, or what instruments played a duck or hunter in Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.  Bernstein would begin each piece by (passionately) describing what was going to happen, and then the Symphony would play the piece.  Kansas City is doing the same thing, and it is a great way to teach music, inspiring many children to dream big, and dream to play in a symphony and in one of the most magnificent halls in the world.

Not only that, it is almost completely free.  The children and teachers get books, a semester-long curriculum, instruments, a concert ticket, busing to the hall, for only $5 per child.  Also, the orchestral scores are all free and the kids participate in the concert in various ways.  It's an amazing program produced and provided by both the Kansas City Symphony and Carnegie Hall - the children have spent all semester learning many pieces including pop music, Brazilian dances, classical music like Beethoven's Fifth, The Blue Danube, The Toreador Song, even an Arvo Pärt piece.

Helzberg Hall - Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Home of the Kansas City Symphony
With all that said, I was honored and excited to be asked.  I had a meeting this afternoon to find out exactly what I will be doing, and IT IS INTERESTING - some of it is kind of funny too...but, I will keep you on pins and needles in the meantime.  Soon, I will be providing more information, details, and perhaps video, but since it is at the Kauffman Center, you never know who might have a dressing room nearby - one time it was Placido Domingo, another time Itzahk Perlman, then Yo-Yo Ma, and Juan Diego Florez, but as luck would have it, this time it'll be with royalty - a certain Queen of Soul.  Well, I'll leave you hangin' but I'm excited to give you some video and pictures of everything going on in the coming weeks!

A Famous Hat
Third, the 34th Summer Choral Institute (sponsored by the Master Teacher Institute for the Arts) ended its application process and we completely shattered all of our applicant records.  I am the Administrative Director of the Institute and it is one of the most amazing weeks of my year. More students applied this year than ever before - students representing 12 states and many, many schools.  I am so excited to bring together some of the nation's most talented high school singers and some of the most amazing conductors and musicians that I've had the high privilege to know for a week of awesome, life-changing music.

Fourth, the Kansas City Vocal Institute is holding it's online auction through Monday.  Items include an autograph of a Star Wars score by John Williams, and lots of other autographed items by Melissa Etheridge, Chanticleer, Norah Jones, Betty White, the Kronos Quartet, Donald Trump, Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Florez, Zubin Mehta, Martina McBride, and Yo-Yo Ma.

Finally, I have an intense upcoming schedule.  Tomorrow, I will attend the Barber of Seville at the Kauffman Center with the KC Lyric Opera, then perform in the other hall at the Kauffman Center on my birthday (Saturday) with the Conservatory Orchestra and Singers - performing the famous Rite of Spring and Chen Yi's new Chinese Myths Cantata, which features me in the fourth balcony singing whole-tone scales in complete darkness, in Mandarin (Chinese) no less, with eleven other singers!  And, on Sunday I will be in Salina, KS singing in a church service and an afternoon concert to commemorate the new sanctuary at University United Methodist Church.  The following week, I will be the tenor soloist for Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass at Washburn University in Topeka, sing at a UMKC graduation in Kansas City, and sing the Canadian National Anthem at a Sporting KC game.  (not to mention that the KC Symphony stuff begins in earnest after that!)

So, it's a busy and exciting time!!!  I will try to bring you videos and pictures of all the excitement.

Muriel Kauffman Theater - Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Home of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Livestrong Sporting Park
Home of Sporting KC

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