Category Archives: Variety Club


You may know that I am Director of the Variety Choruses and a proud supporter of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis. Variety has provided unparalleled access and opportunity to children with disabilities for nearly 90 years.

During this time of uncertainty, I invite you to join me in providing some certainty to Variety Kids and their families because they are facing even more serious challenges.

Variety was forced to cancel their most successful fundraising events – Runway Lights Fashion Show and Dinner with the Stars – so I’ve teamed up to help support essential Variety programming.

One of these guys sings in the Variety Chorus. I can’t tell you how shocked I was one day to look over and see him standing!

You can make a tremendous difference in a child’s life by donating to my Variety fundraiser page here:

  • Your donation made through JustGiving is simple, fast, and secure.
  • Or – if you would like to give a special gift to Variety through other means (stock, family foundation, etc.) we can work directly with my contact at Variety.
  • Remember that your company may match your charitable gift.

I hope many are able to donate generously today. Help me meet my personal goal of raising $5,000 for Variety Kids in the month of May.

Upside down

The world is turned inside out, upside down.

Broadway, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera. Closed for thirty days.

Webster University. Teaching on-line with no course meetings for at least three weeks.

Faculty. Forced to move courses on line, even though they never signed up for this.

Saint Louis. Banning all gatherings of 1,000 people or more for a few weeks.

The Fox. Closing for the month. SLSO calls off the Berlioz sound-orgy this weekend.

The NCAA. All remaining winter and spring sport tourneys are canceled this year.

MLB. Postponing the start of the season for two weeks.

NHL. MLB. MLS. All dark.

Variety Children’s Chorus. Stopped for the remainder of the program year.

Italy. Shut down.

European citizens entering the USA. Forbidden in the next few weeks.

Travel from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran. Forbidden.

Ireland. Closing all schools and universities for two weeks.

As of March 12, nearly 30 countries worldwide have closed all schools.

Apart from the grim human toll, the disruption to lives, the anxiety and fear this virus is inducing . . . apart from the fact that people I know and love are out of work because of this virus . . . the UN is now suggesting that the worldwide cost of this virus this year could be $2 trillion, and that a global recession is inevitable at this point.

The world is turned inside out, upside down.

Said John Donne —

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man’s death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Variety kids

I received special gifts from two Variety choristers this semester.

One girl drew a picture of me, complete with bow tie and festive spectacles. (Some of the kids are fascinated that I show up every Monday with a different pair of eyeglasses.)

And another brought me this very kind note:

DC, you made me smile today: you are the best choir teacher ever.  You always tell funny jokes and you always make me smile.

From, Chase

My heart overflows, as does my gratitude to these kids.

Variety stories

A story, then a funny.

I am the chorus director for the Variety Children’s Charity education program.  I’ve worked with special-needs kids enough to know they are often quite honest, and forthright about their needs.

This year we have two singers with cochlear implants.  One of them brought his microphone to first rehearsal.  The mic hangs around my neck, and since it’s unidirectional, it picks up my voice and Bluetooths it to the receivers for his implants.

This week the other student brought her mic.  I watched as she synced it to her own receivers, and then I wore the mic for the entire rehearsal.  And she was engaged more in what was going on as a result.

Technology is cool.  And wonderful.  And a god-send at times.

And these are new experiences for me.

Now the funny . . . .

One of our singers is a very outgoing, chatty, and very honest super-senior.

Monday evening, I kept messing up the words on a song.

And she kept calling me on it.  “Dr. Carter, you sang ‘him’ again when it should have been ‘we.'”

After the third or fourth time, I just said “I’m a bad conductor!”.  Smile on my face . . . but acknowledging that I’m a mess that evening.

She, to me and the whole group: “No you’re not.  You’re just making a lot of mistakes.”

The room erupts in laughter.

And scene.


The culprit may or may not be in this photo: