Tag Archives: Michelangelo

#TBT: July abroad

I realized the other day that I have spent quite a few days of July abroad in recent years.  Here are a few photos from July excursions to Europe.

Scenes from Montreal, Vienna, London and every one of the countries in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Stockholm, Antwerp, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Florence, other points in Austria, and Paris.  I think that’s it.

Travel was by jet, plane, car, bus, train, and bicycle!

Many of these adventures were with my friend Kevin Cherry, or with the choir from Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City.  I’m grateful to Webster University for the Messing Award that allowed me to spend three weeks in Vienna in July 2018 for curriculum development.

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.

Euro18: David

I met David on Tuesday.  He towered over me, and didn’t flinch.  In fact, he seemed carved from marble, so raw was his power and so perfect his form.  And that gaze!  This is one confident kid.

Michelangelo’s David was the one must-see on my trip to Florence. He did not disappoint.  I expected to be moved, and I was.  A few salty wetnesses escaped my eyes as I contemplated this masterpiece, when I stopped examining and reading and listening to the guide, and finally sat in a corner and had my pilgrimage moment of awe and wonder.

This is bravura sculpting, powerfully realized, and deeply moving.

Euro18: under the weather

I woke up on Saturday feeling worse than I did on Friday, and after a tremendously restless night. My body can’t decide if I am having an allergy attack, or if something infectious has taken hold. I’m treating for allergies, but this is ugly right now.

Somewhere around 4 a.m., I realized that I was feeling marginally better, and had quit tossing and turning, and I slept until 5.30, when I awoke thinking it was 6.30 a.m.!

So I FaceTimed with a friend in NYC, and only after getting on the phone did I realize that I had another hour to go.

In any event, Saturday has been a day for grabbing what sleep I could. I was in business class on the way to Florence today, on Austrian Airlines, but that didn’t allow for any more or less sleep.

And Florence was rainy when I arrived, and I felt like crap, so I took a nap.

Sunday will be my day to venture out into the city and do my art tour that starts at 10 a.m. Evensong at the local Anglican Church is at 6 p.m.

But the one stop that I have to make: Michelangelo’s David. I’m beyond excitement to finally see it.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, with the sky having cleared and with moderate temperatures, the Duomo and Campanile and Baptistery look like this:

P.S. — this is the first Hilton hotel in which I’ve stayed, anywhere in the world, that does not have an iron and ironing board in the room! I have to go to some central laundry room to iron my linen shirts. Unhappy, am I.

AND SUNDAY MORNING. An update now: less restless night, and a healthy breakfast. I’m going to go face the Florentian world.

Coffee and pineapple and scrambled eggs and yummy croissants help fortify me for the shuttle, tram, and walking I’m about to do!