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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Interesting time (and memories!) visiting WA state

I had a great time visiting friends and family in Washington state the past three weeks. The impetus was my former choral group, Choral Arts, beginning a commissioning project in my name--a great honor, I think!

The initial work was by Eric Barnum, Sing in the Dark Times, and it was magnificent. Thanks to Robert Bode, the choir and board for making this possible!

Below, me, Robert and Eric from the reception following the concert:

17 of the 26 singers had sung with me, not so much a tribute to me, but to Robert and the work he's done with the choir.

The week was full of memories and connections.

The night we arrived, we went to a concert by the Choir of the West under Richard Nance, my good friend and colleague, who's now Director of Choral Activities at PLU. They sang wonderfully, just before leaving for their European tour. I was DCA at PLU and conductor of the Choir of the West from 1983-2001.

The next night was the Seattle Opera's production of Magic Flute, which we attended since John Tessier, a friend and soloist with Pro Coro Canada, was singing Tamino. A beautiful performance by John and it was nice to chat with him backstage afterwards. He'll sing in Dallas this coming season, so we hope to get him out to UNT for a masterclass.

However, in the lobby we also saw Karen Thomas, conductor of Seattle Pro Musica, who's done such a great job with a group I founded in 1973.

Interesting timing in my life: began my first choral group (SPM) in 1973, came to teach at PLU in 1983, and founded Choral Arts in 1993--in 2013 that will mean  40 years since founding Seattle Pro Musica, 30 years since I came to PLU, and 20 years since I founded Choral Arts! Not too bad . . .

Other memories as well, of course. It's the 10th anniversary of when I left PLU and also the 10th of the tragic death of my close friend, James Holloway. Jim was a brilliant musician (pianist, organist, conductor), raconteur, cook, and much else. Jim and I worked together even before he taught at PLU, he accompanied Choral Arts many times, played and stood for me in our wedding (a close friend of Kathryn as well, in a sense he introduced us), and came to Hungary with us just after we were married in 1996 to play the Bernstein Chichester Psalms and work as accompanist with me during a "Singing Week" in Veszprem--yet another eerie connection on this trip was that the third movement of Chichester was on the Choral Arts program. Jim was murdered just the day after my last big performance at PLU, the Verdi Requiem, and just before I'd take the choir on my final tour at PLU, to Scandinavia.

Most of the memories, however were good ones,  and the ones listed above are just a small part of the memories evoked during this trip. I can't begin to list all the friends and family we were able to see, but it was a great time.

I've been blessed!

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