Monday, May 21, 2012

Eclipsed

If you missed it last night, there was a magnificent solar eclipse across much of the US.  My wife and I went out to watch it at sunset and it was amazing.  My dad captured some of these amazing images.  Pictures are incredible, but it is such an amazing sight in person!





Since my last update - I have been "vacationing" at home, learning TONS of music.  Some of it will be amazing music, and some of it is really frustrating and annoying to learn, but that is the life of a musician.

But before I get to that I must first mention that last week one of the most significant classical singers in history died: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He was a baritone who is universally recognized as the greatest lieder singer in history. For those who don't know, "lied" is German for "song", and in classical music, lieder are German art songs. Here is one of the most glorious songs in music history - Der Erlkönig - music by Schubert, poem by Goethe about a sick boy being carried by his father on horseback as they race home. During the ride, the boy sees and experiences images and sounds that the father does not. In the end the boy screams that he's being attacked by an Elf King.  When the father reaches home he finds that the boy is dead. The song is very exciting, you hear the horse galloping in the piano, and the singer must play the part of the boy, father, and narrator - at times quickly going between the three.



This week, as I have mentioned, I have a lot of music to learn! I am preparing to make a recording with the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers next week, and we will have several live performances in the area as well. If you don't know, Simon Carrington is one of the most influential choral conductors in the world, and I am THRILLED to be part of his professional choir - a handful of singers have flown in from all across the US to do this, and we have high hopes for the recording!

I am also planning the 34th Summer Choral Institute which begins June 3 at Kansas State University. It will certainly be the best Institute ever, and the students and staff are absolutely incredible. SCI is a summer program for gifted high school Sophomore and Junior singers. They come from across the US to make music, sing in concerts and recitals, and train at the highest professional level for one week every summer. Students who were accepted received a full scholarship to attend, courtesy of K-State and The Master Teacher Institute for the Arts. It is one of the most amazing weeks of my year!

I am also learning my role for an opera in Pennsylvania late next month. I will have much more about that as the time nears, however this weekend is the annual Celebration at the Station here in KC. Last year, I was SHOCKED that 60,000 people attended this outdoor symphony concert of Americana, fireworks, canons, etc. in the area between the National World War I Memorial and Union Station in KC. If you are in the area and decide to come, you will find me and wife and some friends on the lawn with a cooler full of beer, watching the events - classical music would be more popular if tailgating were a vital part of its tradition.

Finally, last week I surprised my mom for Mother's Day by driving 4.5 hours to their home. They were renovating their house, so I helped move all kinds of furniture. While I was there, I filmed my puppy Kiah doing her tricks.



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