Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to Normal Life?

Wow, I cannot believe the response I have had with all of the ceremonial videos and my Olympic Ceremony Database www.olympicceremony.org.  These last couple months, I have left my typical Monday routine and posted videos and information about all of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.  I intend to put all the Winter Olympic ones up in the future, but it is certainly a labor of love as one blogger wrote.  In the meantime, I've had up to 100,000 readers every day - causing my blog to crash momentarily.  Amazingly, this blog has been featured on public television and radio in the Netherlands for my coverage of the 1928 games in Amsterdam!
So, what have I been doing in the meantime.  Well, I have been relaxing for one, but I am the kind of personality that doesn't do well with time off - mentally, I must keep active and these Olympic posts have been doing that.  After I returned from my opera in Pennsylvania, I honestly was completely drained.  I had a packed school schedule last year and the most rigorous performance schedule of my life - I needed a break. So, I did what any opera singer would do.  I helped to start two off-shoot companies of my own Kansas City Vocal Institute - www.kcvocalinstitute.com.  Last month, the Philadelphia Vocal Institute - www.philadelphiavocalinstitute.com - got off the ground running and this month we will be launching the Boston Vocal Institute.  These other companies were started by several good friends of mine who are great musicians with super intelligence and big hearts, trying to give folks in these communities affordable opportunities in music education.
Surely that wasn't enough work, so I have also been exercising.  Now, I am completely self-conscious about my image and HATE taking my shirt off.  So maybe this will help me not be so afraid in the future.  In my professional opinion, opera singers don't necessarily exercise enough, and I surely fall into that category.  I have known about different workout programs and it just so happens that a friend of mine started p90x and I have had other friends and musicians who were currently doing p90x.  They look to be in great shape.  If you don't know, p90x is an extreme workout program that is only 90 days long, but it takes a lot of drive, mental strength, and loud operatic screams to get through it.  So, I started, but I couldn't keep up the routine during two of my week-long gigs and I likely won't be able to next week, but I'll get to that in a second.  So instead of 90 days of extreme workouts, I had to push that a little longer and I'll have the pictures to prove it when I'm done at the beginning of September.  Already, I feel great and wanted to push myself further, so I decided to start running again...and not just any kind of running but long distance timed runs.  Last month I ran about 150 miles and this month I should be around 200 miles!  It's been a lot of fun and I've never felt better.
Next week, I'm off to Yale!  If you don't remember, I was awarded a fellowship from Yale back in April to sing at their Norfolk Music Festival.  I am super excited and have been studying the music - it should be a great experience.
I also have several exciting announcements about my upcoming gigs.  I am singing the National Anthem on TV nation-wide on GolTV for the US Open Cup Final (soccer's national championship) featuring Sporting KC and Seattle Sounders FC.  It's likely that few reading this purchased the extra fourth-tier sports channel package from their cable provider, and if that's the case I suppose you'll just have to imagine a loud packed stadium with lots of fireworks, while I try not to forget the words.  Last week, I was able to sing the National Anthem at a Sporting KC vs. Stoke City (from the UK) and sang both the Star-Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen.  I don't get "jittery" nervous that often, but for some reason, I was completely off my game with the UK's anthem - I sang it just fine, but was extremely nervous about it for whatever reason.

I am also scheduled to be a soloist in Beethoven's Mass in C with the Village Symphony and Choir on October 28.  I also have several great professional choir gigs as well.  I am planning to sing with the Conservatory Singers again and be the Evangelist in a Bach Passion next April (which makes me super excited) and I will be singing with Te Deum and be the tenor soloist in Bach's B Minor Mass at the Kauffman Center on my birthday (April 28).

In addition to all of that, I am finally scheduled to take my Doctoral Comprehensive Exams this Semester - for that I am terrified and horribly anxious.  And, I will be performing in a solo recital likely at the end of the semester.

Believe it or not, I have much more to talk about in the coming weeks and there are some other gigs still up in the air, but I will let you know as soon as I get the go-ahead.  Until then, enjoy the Olympics and my next update will be from beautiful New Haven, Connecticut on the campus of Yale University.

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