Tag Archives: Chicago

The year 2018

Greetings to friends and family around the world. I write on the day of the winter solstice, and note with sadness that this world seems particularly darker than it did a year ago. I pray for light and truth to again be kindled in the hearts of those who lead, and who alone can set to the tone for this world.

May it be so.

Even with the death of my father in the waning days of 2017, my own 2018 has been significantly brighter than national and international news might allow!

Winter. A solo cabaret act. Loads of teaching and concert-going and the robust time of the year at the office. A quiet winter without any significant travel except for a quick trip to Naples, Florida to see Spencer go on as Prince Chulalongkorn in The King and I.

Spring. Begins with a trip to Moscow to discuss collaborations. Attend a concert in Tchaikowsky Hall. Tourist for full, long day in Moscow. Holy Week in London, with services at St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey. My former student sings Gerontius at King’s College Cambridge. Wrap up the school year with a sizable graduating class. Pack up and finish work on my father’s estate. A week in NYC, and confirmation of a budding relationship. Solo/ensemble contest brings solid results. Senior recitals with three voice students. Attend the Tony Awards. Celebrated the completion of 10 years at Webster University.

Summer. Begins with a week in Lincoln at a conference. Then to Vienna on the Messing Faculty Award for three weeks of research and curriculum development. Side trips to Stockholm and Florence. Allergies abound in Vienna! Wept copious tears at the sight of Michelangelo’s David. Start the new school year with days of meetings, and a robust new-student class. Yufei visits Saint Louis. Start work with Variety Children’s Choruses as the new conductor. Celebrate my 57th birthday with a day of museum visits in Vienna, and a screening of The Third Man at a kino.

Autumn. Auggie turns 8. Sabbatical begins in mid-October. Accept a gig with Circus Harmony as composer and music director for the big January show. Start traveling immediately. Chicago with Yufei. Toronto and Niagara Falls with my nephew Luke. Washington, D.C. (pandas!!) and NYC with Yufei. Chicago again. And Christmas at home in Lee’s Summit with my sisters. Attend multiple Circus Harmony classes and practices. Conduct a holiday concert with the Variety Children’s Choruses. Attend Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Over the course of the year I’ve witnessed powerful live concert performances. Viewed some of the world’s greatest artworks. Learned more about cooking. Kept up the slow renovations on a 100+ year-old home. Enjoyed some stunning meals (Stockholm, Vienna, Chicago, NYC all were gastro-delight locations). Worshipped in grand and beautiful spaces. Composed some decent music. Shot loads and loads of photos (I’m starting to understand light much better). Whipped up homemade plum jam and blood orange marmalade. Taken various architectural tours. Read more books than the year before, and also a big chunk of the Bible. Extended my cufflink-buying spree with a dozen new pairs. Imparted lessons about singing, and about life, with students. Loved on my dog. Caught up with friends in far-flung places. Bought more new eyeglasses. Fallen in love.

Not a bad year indeed.

May 2019 bring us comfort and joy and challenges that we can together address.

More Chicago photos

The tower formerly known as Sears, site of Yufei’s recent dancing and my recent terror. Notice the LEDGE windows way up high.

I made my first-ever rides north on the Metra on Sunday. Out to Arlington Heights; in from Wilmette.

Illinois, from a United flight back to Saint Louis. Monday’s weather was perfect for flying.

Saturday in Chicago

I spent an active day in Chicago yesterday.

Breakfast was at the Corner Bakery by my hotel. Then I took off for the Newberry Library and their magnificent exhibition about the 1893 Columbian Exposition here in Chicago.

I bought a few greeting cards too, then headed to the Art Institute. Since I have never done the whole Chinese collection, I spent most of my time there on Saturday. What a glorious permanent collection this is!

I met up with my friend Ramelle and two of her friends for a quick dinner and drinks at the Purple Pig, then went to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for their subscription concert Saturday evening. Michael Tilson Thomas conducted, with the second half being the heart-churning Symphony No. 6 by Tchaikovsky.

A quick late call with Yufei brought me back the hotel for a drink and a blog entry. And some Amazon time looking up books I saw today….

I also stopped by a few shops today, and have now a few extra [smaller] bags of goodies to bring home.

A year later

One year ago this morning, I packed my car with two suits and other clothes for a ten-day stay . . . and drove west via I-70 to my hometown.

The hospice nurse had told me the day before that I probably needed to be home sooner rather than later.

I arrived in early afternoon to find my father awake and responsive enough to know me and say “Hi, Son.” Later that day he sipped a bit of Pepsi and remarked on how good it was.

Those couple of days in bed and awake were restless ones for him. By Saturday he was sleeping soundly, no longer speaking, difficult to rouse.

By Sunday night, he was gone.


One year later, I’m headed to Chicago for a holiday weekend of glorious music and even a visit to the ballet. Life is good. The last year has been full indeed.

But Pop is on my mind today.