Welcome, longest day of the week. Three lessons. SLSO Chorus rehearsal with SLSO. WUCO rehearsal.
Here we go.
And it’s the second Tuesday of the month, with the street-cleaners already finished, five minutes before they were scheduled to start. Good thing my Ingrid is in my garage.
And so the week begins.
I hosted a small dinner gathering last evening, of the supper club that meets occasionally. Only three of us were able to dine last evening, so the menu was lighter: chicken, pasta, green beans, dessert. And lots of conversation about food, and about being 50-something.
Samson is being incredibly clingy these days.
After washing up the pots that soaked overnight, I decided to take ammonia to the stove-top plate and grills. I really ought to do this once a month, no?
The day has already settled into what will be the rhythm of the week:
- rise for breakfast and Morning Prayer
- read the Times and the local Post-Dispatch
- work on the world premiere I’m singing on Sunday, either at the piano or with the recording of the accompaniment
- go over the Grimes memorization
- spend more time with the Mozart for Sunday evening
- work on whatever projects(s) is(are) on the mind that day (usually longer-range Webster things or one of the two research projects occupying my thoughts)
- dinner and Evening Prayer
- evening rehearsal with Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
The Wednesday rehearsal is an afternoon event, so I’m going to have dinner with one of my students that evening. And Thursday evening is a show in Kirkwood, since SLSO is dark that night.
Grimes is Saturday night.
Meanwhile, I’m increasingly excited about this new work with the Webster University Chamber Orchestra on Sunday. I get to sing a premiere of a piece written for me, with the source material from two colleagues at Webster, and led by another colleague. It doesn’t get much better than this . . . . Details here.
The second half of sabbatical seems to include a number of performances!
This week I am in rehearsal for Pro Arte – St. Louis, a new musical group with a concert this Sunday, November 3, at 3 p.m. Singing this music is like singing butter. I love it!
Then, after a fairly fallow week that only includes a major committee meeting and a judging gig, the following week is the heavy-duty week of rehearsals for Peter Grimes with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Our one local concert of this monumental 20th-century opera is Saturday, November 16 at Powell Hall.
Somewhere in the midst of that week, I am also rehearsing with the Webster University Chamber Orchestra. On Sunday, November 17 at 7 p.m. I sing the premiere of a new work written for WUCO and me by my colleague Kim Portnoy. The text is by former Missouri poet laureate and Webster faculty member David Clewell.
And then a few days later I am off to NYC for Peter Grimes at Carnegie Hall.
November = heavy! And happily so….
AN UPDATE: The conductor of the Bach Society has asked me to sing with that group for their holiday concert, so I’m adding Monday night rehearsals in November and December, plus the gig at Powell Hall in December, to the list. That makes three professional groups with concerts this month and next, and at least two nights a week of rehearsals for the next few weeks. Suddenly . . . busy!
Last Friday evening, I sang the premiere of my new settings of Sara Teasdale poetry for baritone and oboe. My colleague Carla Colletti joined me in the performance. The impetus for writing these? An invitation to appear on a Webster University Faculty Composers Concert. Ten different composers were represented, each of them artist/teachers in the Department of Music.
Here is the premiere performance:
To friends around the world –
The year 2011 is nearly over. Somewhere, it’s snowing. I hit my 50th birthday anniversary this year. Two dear friends threw me a big party, and then the actual day passed quietly with a movie and some Mexican food and an episode of Mad Men.
A few weeks before my birthday, though, I had a health scare with a very minor heart attack. The doctors didn’t confirm that diagnosis, but my mother came to me in a dream a week before my birthday (only the second time in 13 years that she has done so) and told me to trust what I knew to be true, and to make some changes. So I’ve dropped a bit of weight, and continue to work slowly at that. I’ve changed a few things in my daily life too.
The year has been filled with travel. In the last three months alone, I have traveled on business to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Interlochen, Michigan. I hit New York City twice this year. Most recently, I spent ten days in Europe on Webster University business.
Along the way this year, I especially enjoyed visiting the UN Headquarters in NYC, Frank Lloyd Wright’s western getaway in Scottsdale, and FDR’s home at Hyde Park. And Bratislava, Slovakia, a city that will beckon me again.
One of my themes this year has been musical theatre. I continue to explore the riches of Saint Louis theatre, but this year I added to that a return to the stage in She Loves Me at one of our local pro companies. The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch had some nice things to say about me. I was gratified, of course, as I felt pretty rusty after 19 years away from the stage. Several others reviewers also gave me compliments. The fun of doing the show was enhanced by being on stage with two of my college voice students and several Webster University Conservatory kids.
A few weeks later, I debuted as music consultant for a production of Red at the Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis and a playhouse in Cincinnati.
During my NYC trips this year, I saw
I have added to my portfolio of citizen activities a 2012 spot as voting panelist for the Kevin Kline Awards, a Saint Louis version of the Tony Awards. I continue to serve as a panelist for the Regional Arts Commission, and as an international board member for the Conductors Guild, Inc., where I chair the Publications Committee.
We had some successes at Webster University this year, including a major external refurbishment of the venerable old Thompson House, some hefty changes to our departmental curriculum, and the addition of a new faculty line, increasing the size of our faculty. I am co-chair of a major university committee this year. And I received word this week that my initial review is successful, so I am now a permanent faculty member. As last year ended we moved in a number of new Steinway pianos, a fact we continue to celebrate.
June found me leading my final concerts as Artistic Director of the Gateway Men’s Chorus. A few weeks later the group released the second CD recording of my three-year tenure with them. I’m proud of this product, and delighted with the artistic successes we experienced during my leadership. Our last concert together featured my friend Christine Brewer as guest soloist.
The University of Central Missouri named me their 2011 Department of Music Distinguished Alumnus this year.
On the home front, Samson the Feist continues to be a delightful and boon companion. (He is snuggled next to me as I write this evening.) I am contemplating some minor home renovations for 2012, but otherwise all remains copacetic.
My Uncle Edwin, Mom’s brother, died a few months ago. All that is left now of that line of the family is Aunt Esther, still going strong at 99.5 years, and my sisters and I. The family in Lee’s Summit and Kansas City are all well and hale. Karen’s two kids are still in college; Beth’s are in high school and elementary school. I love being a doting uncle.
Here are some of my favorite blog posts of the year:
- The bird
- Vance Riffie
- Dr. Brummett
- Alumnus honor
- Willow Springs
- Westminster Abbey
- In the midst
- Random musings
- My blog entries about auditions and what to do and not to do
This is a joyous time in the midst of a broken and not-yet-contrite world. My prayer for this season and the new year is for peace, honesty, justice, and truth to prevail in our land and our society, and in my own relationships with those who inhabit my daily life and my larger world.
As I sign off from this annual tradition, I share this wonderful show closer from the 2010 Gateway Men’s Chorus holiday show. Enjoy!
And if you need one more sugary Christmas fix, check this out.
Grace and peace,
Don’t be the bunny.
~Caldwell B. Cladwell in Urinetown
As I sat today in the final round of the NATS competition at UCM, I began thinking that I’ve not updated by long-form bio in almost two years.
So tonight, with Pop and Jo both zonked out in their chairs, I took a few minutes to do the update. Here’s the latest!