Category Archives: Shows

Proud teacher

I’m an incredibly proud teacher this weekend.

Five of my Webster University voice students are in The Drowsy Chaperone at the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts. I saw the show again Friday night, and will it again on Sunday.  Tonight I sat with the parents of my senior Jacob Scott; visited with the parents of my senior Chase Thomaston; and finally met the parents of my sophomore Jacob Flekier.  Caroline Adams’ parents were also in the house, although I did not get a chance to say hello.

Yesterday I posted a photo of me with Chase.  Today’s photos are with the Jacob the Elder and Jacob the Younger (top photo).

And here are some production photos with my five students in them:

The Drowsy Chaperone

The Drowsy Chaperone runs this weekend at the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts.

Man In Chair is played by my graduating senior voice student Chase Thomaston, who is inordinately effective, hugely entertaining, utterly believable, and ultimately deeply moving in his last WebCo role.

I’m one proud teacher.


NYC again

I’m back in New York City, this time with 53 students and a few colleagues.  The students and colleagues perform at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon.

I had a double delight today.

Loo Kia Chun was a dear friend while I was at Kansas 20 years ago.  He happens to be in the USA right now.  We met Thursday afternoon for a first visit in 13 years for a  most joyous catch-up.

And then later Thursday, I met up with one of my favorite Ball State University Singers, Luke Meyer.  We saw the hilarious farce The Play That Goes Wrong.

La Boheme

The Met PR calls it a “passionate, timeless and indelible story of love.”

And so it is.

La Boheme  was not the first opera I saw.  That title goes to Aida at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City while I was in 8th grade.

But Boheme is the first opera that made me cry.  And it still does.


I listened to the opera live from the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoon. This fresh and lively performance was exquisite.

The ending got me, as it always does. Ever since 1977, I have been spoilt for C#-minor chords, as they always signal Mimi’s death.  (Just yesterday, I heard a C#-minor chord in the piano in some theatre piece I had on, and I felt the chill of death at that moment.)

My first Boheme was March1977 with Pavarotti in the role of Rodolfo, on the first-ever Live from the Met broadcast.  I wanted to watch the live telecast, and my parents relegated me to their bedroom, to watch the production on the little 13-inch black-and-white television.

Several hours later, I emerged crying in the way that only a closeted 16-year-old classical music lover can.  Mimi had died.  Rodolfo had cried out those incredible high g-sharps, and my world had changed forever.

And the opera still gets me . . . every time.

2016 in pictures

2016 holiday letter

Dear friends and family around the world,

I write on a Saturday evening, just two weeks before the conclusion of the year 2016.  What a momentous, challenging, and rich year this has been!

At work: retirements, two new tenure-line hires, enrollment growth, budget challenges, a wonderful studio of students, success as a pedagogue, a research grant.

At home: a year with Auggie, a pup just as delightful and attentive as Samson ever was. New windows. Continued work in the garden. No other major renovations this year.

evensong - 2In music: less composing than I’d like, but loads of new music learned. I have a grant to record two sets of Storypeople Songs, and one set is in the can already.  Now I need to write the other set and get it recorded!  And my UK trip included the choir from Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral singing my own “Forest Park” setting of the Preces & Responses.

In travel: NYC in June, Chicago a couple of times, Atlanta in July, Santa Fe and Interlochen and Iowa City and Cleveland and Cincinnati in October, Dallas in January.  Three weeks in England in July, including a week in Exeter and a week in Norwich and my 55th birthday celebration abroad. Several trips home to Lee’s Summit. And ending the year, later this month, in Hong Kong.

In family: nephew Blayne married, and niece Kristen engaged.  Niece Anna still in college, and nephews Luke and Joseph still home schooled.  Pop and Jo in their 80s and getting along.

family - 13

In the world: brokenness and anger all around, with no signs of abating. A national election that did not go as I wished. Rancor and drama and war on the world scene.  Some days . . . hope and despair in equal measure.

In theatre: Old Wicked Songs at New Jewish, Atomic at New Line, A Christmas Carol at the Rep.

img_9608In the studio: four kids to state contest, all with top ratings at the end of the day; six new voice students this autumn; doing some of the best teaching of my life.

And not worth noting, but I will anyway: four new pairs of shoes this year, and three new pairs of spectacles. But no significant weight loss.

May the blessings of the season be real, and the hopes for 2017 become truth.


Fifteen years ago

Fifteen years ago today, I led Ball State University Singers in a visit to Washington DC.  We placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, honored Lt. Gen. Timothy Maude (a Ball State alum who was killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon), visited the US Capitol, and generally had a grand time.

Brian and Molly place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Brian and Molly place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

The next day, we sang two concert sets at the White House.  George W. Bush was President then.



Our Capitol visit included a trip to the House floor, where Representative Mike Pence (our elected House member) greeted us and told us some history.  Little did any of us know that 15 years later he would be Vice-President-Elect of the United States. (The very thought is offensive and disgusting.)

Our itinerary:

Sunday, 16 December

6:30 a.m.          Depart Emens Auditorium loading dock
+/- 7 p.m.         Arrive George Washington University Inn, Foggy Bottom area

2001. After a performance at the White House.

2001. After a performance at the White House.

Monday, 17 December

7:15 a.m.          Load bus
7:25 a.m.          Depart for Arlington
7:45 a.m.          Arr. Arlington
9:00 a.m.          Load bus; to Capitol
9:20 a.m.          Arrive Capitol
10:15 a.m.        To Pentagon
11:00 a.m.        Caroling at Pentagon; brief tour follows
3:30 p.m.          Return to hotel; remainder of day free

Tuesday, 18 December

8:00 a.m.          Arrive White House
11:45 p.m.        Depart White House to hotel; load bags
12:30 p.m.        Depart for Muncie; drive fast; get home soon!