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Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

To all who read these letters:

2004 with all its changes, triumphs and errors is quickly coming to a close. I always look forward to New Year's Eve, as without fail it brings the hope of something better. 2004, for many of us was a difficult and disappointing year. The American election, homophobia in the Episcopal Church, the loss of friends and family gives us all cause to stop and reflect upon what has happened in the last twelve months.

More importantly, however, now is not the time to sit back and wallow in our discontent. Positive change is made by positive people. So, to all of my friends out there, Happy New Year. Enjoy one more day of rest and relaxation, and then, when the sun comes up on Monday morning, jump up and greet the day, and start from day one to make your life, your attitude and your actions something positive. Let's leave the place a little better than we found it, and let's get at it right away.

Peace and blessings to you all!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Made it through Christmas

Whoo Hoo! Another raucous holiday season is over, with two wonderful days of doing nothing but sitting on my arse and watching movies! A few more days of vacation and it's off to the races again. Some things to watch for: revamped Helios web site...that comes up tomorrow, and will be launched before too much longer.

Hope everyone has a Happy and safe New Year's Eve celebration.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Success in spite of the AF of M.

The Dallas Bach Society performed its annual Messiah concerts this week in spite of pickets and strikes by the American Federation of Musicians, who, in Dallas are amongst our community's most myopic and ridiculous people.

The spirit of the performances was brilliant and the music making was of the first order. What a pleasure it was to see, for once, the orchestra brimming with the joy of playing together and of making so profound a musical testament as Handel's masterpiece warrants.

It was particularly amusing to me to go to the men's room and see stickers and signs plastered all over the walls which read: "DALLAS BACH SOCIETY-SCABS GO HOME!"

First of all, the union members who placed these items defaced public property. This is a misdemeanor offence by city statutes. Secondly, it proved just how childish these people are. Really now, posting your protests in the pisser. Nice. Elegant. Effective. Just so you know, I aimed up and hit the poster squarely with the ole garden hose.

Oh yes, and for the brilliant persons of letter who posted the signs: you need a comma after scabs. If you're going to post notices, at least do us the courtesy of knowing English grammar.

Nice try. The show went on. The audience loved it. And the six of you with your placards and signs outside the looked like the asses you are.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Catching up

Since Hildigunnur has duly chastised me for not keeping up with my blog, I thought that I would run a few words across the keyboard, since by some dumb luck I got out of my rehearsal early today.

It's holiday time, and of course that means lots of concerts and extra services, and by exchange, lots of extra cashflow. My creditors love this time of year. Four Messiah Performances (two as soloist, two as chorister) and a ton of other fun things.

This is about the time that I start thinking about what to put in the annual Chrismas eve letter, which will be arriving in inboxes the world over about 1:00 am CST Christmas morning. I think this year's is going to be pretty good. I have actually found a topic that does not blast George Bush to smithereens (rhetorically, of course, lest the Dept. of Homeland Security is reading this.)

I am proud to announce that one of my favorite students, Montgomery, got into the actor's conservatory at NYU. This is great news as he is a major talent, and he has had his heart set on studying there for some years now.

Well, it's off to the mall while I have the time. See everyone on Christmas eve!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Farewell Superman

The news came today of the death of actor and activist Christopher Reeve. This is indeed a sad day for all of us, and especially for those who had come to admire and depend upon Chris's courage and strength, his message of hope, and his crusade for the advancement of stem cell research. Let us hope that his passing, sad as it is, will strengthen the case for this valuable science. Although I would never want his death to be used as a political tool, perhaps the loss of this great courageous American will help to wake the public into action and put a stop to the current administration's idiotic lethargy on this issue and cease their pandering to the religious right.

Rest in peace, Superman. You made the world a better place in your all too brief time with us, and I, for one, am grateful for your life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Homophobic Bishop and his Hypocritical Agenda

Dear Friends,

Last night at the Church of the Incarnation, James Monte Stanton, the sixth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, met with concerned parishioners concerning our diocese's joining of the Network of Anglican Commuion Dioceses and Parishes.

For some ninety minutes, the bishop filibustered and dodged serious and thoughtful questions and concerns from parishioners both gay and straight about the agenda and intentions of this network.

It became clearer by the minute that this network is an attempt to institutionalize homophobia within the the Episcopal Church in the USA. Bishop Stanton did not even have the nerve to address or defend this accusation, rudely cutting off a questioner who was neither aggresive nor disrespectful in his inquiry.

As a defense for his actions, the Bishop stated that his main concern was to maintain the communion between the American Episcopal Church and sister churches throughout the Anglican Communion, specifically, the churches in Africa. He made a lenghty case for this need for unity, citing the negative press that the African Church leaders were receiving for being in association with the Americans, and stated that African churches, who were in most desperate need of American aid were being forced to pass it by in fear of censure by their governments.

Further, when asked whether he would oust clergy who, in direct violation to Christ's teachings, were divorced and remarried, he replied with an unequivocal 'No.'

It seems as though the bishop and his henchmen have decided to take the issue of homosexuality as their right-wing rallying cry, ignoring other direct scriptural teachings since they are not politically or financially expedient.

Further, he is hiding behind a mask of sympathy for Africa, a continent which has done little to nothing to stem the spread of HIV and AIDS because of its antediluvian social mores that insist that the wearing of a condom is in some way unmasculine. He has also chosen to ignore such practices as polygamy, and prostitution and the handing down of episcopal offices such as bishop and primate from generation to generation instead of the proper electoral procedures that the canons require of these offices.

This Network and the people that are involved in it are the apex of hypocricy, discrimination and hatred. They are a stain on the fabric of the teachings of the all-loving, and all encompasisng Christ. They cherry pick scripture for their own political agenda and conveniently ignore those edicts of which they are in violation for their own political gain and expediency.

To add insult to injury, the Bishop made appallingly bigoted statements against the religion of Islam, putting himself on the level of our current and incompetent political administration, a far cry from his calling as shepherd of his flock.

In a last ditch effort to defend his Network, he cited his desire to maintain the traditions of the five-hundred year old Anglican Church. He failed, of course, to mention that this very church, founded in the sixteenth century by Henry VIII of England, was formed solely because the Roman Pontiff refused to grant Henry a divorce so that he could commence with his SIXTH marriage.

This bishop and his homophobic, hypocrital agenda must be stopped. We must cease to live in the dark ages, and wake up to see the light of truth. The bishop would have us believe that homosexualtiy is a lifestyle choice and not a product of genetics, when volumes of excellent research and science have proven him wrong.

To all of you who might read these pages: take a stand with me and my brothers and sisters in Christ who recognize the error and bigotry of Stanton and his ilk. Write to him at Be heard. Let us stamp out hatred, fear and discrimination for ever.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Some Observations on the Day Past

While lunching at a little sub shop on Greenville Avenue, (how about that, I just made a new verb!) I observed a little episode that brought back many a distasteful memory of my days as a retail flunky.

Now mind, I don't mean to denigrate retailers. If one feels called to that profession, enjoys it, and is good at it, then I believe wholeheartedly that it is a noble and worthy profession. Alas, retail is often a wasteland of brilliant and creative minds, stuck there in misery either by circumstance or bad luck, or, and this is harsh, cowardice.

Sitting at the next table was the manager of this little sub shop, and he was deep in conversation with his supervisor, one of the dreaded ogres of every retail guy's life, the DM. (District Manager for those of you in other countries) Now, having had to answer to a DM for a number of years, I can tell you first hand that these needle dicked middle managers can make the poor guy that has to face the public every day absolutely miserable. Very seldom is anything ever right when they visit your store, rather, they take a great deal of little-guy pride in having the power to suck the creative juice right out of your veins and gargle with it.

This poor guy was being led around by the nose, legal pad in hand, and forced to bow and scrape to the big dude's every whim.

One year and one month ago, I, for one got my fill. I had been working for peanuts for more than fifteen years to make some other bastard rich, while my own creativity was being sapped. Well, I did something about it, and now, live a really contented and happy life, having the full authority and courage to say no to whatever and whomever I please.

Now, that last paragraph might sound a bit arrogant, and let me hasten to add, that arrogance is not my intention, nor is it my desire to lord my success over anyone else. Rather, I would like, through this little medium, to inspire the thousands of you just like me who have more to offer the world than a suggestive upsale of French Fries with your hamburger.

1. Chances are, there is something that you can do or produce that people need. Sit down and evaluate yourself, and figure out just what it is you do better than anyone else in the world. Maybe it's word processing. It might be housekeeping. Maybe you're gifted with a needle and thread. Perhaps you have a great speaking voice. Whatever it is that you have, go exploit it.

For me, it was music. And for fifteen years I used my talent and knowledge to sell sheet music and records for some other schmuck and they thanked me profusely to the tune of $10 per hour.

When I decided to put my music to work for me, I was able to build a teaching studio of more than 25 pupils (at $50 an hour!) and to put my musical knowledge into the production of radio programs, record reviews, and the artistic directorship of my professional choir.

Now, I make more in two hours than I made in two days at my day job, and no DM tells me that my office is out of order.

2. No one has the right to make you feel inferior and to hold the kind of authority over you that will make you dread earning your living. You DON'T have to take it from the MAN! Be your own person, and tell the boss to go screw himself! Find a position in life that makes some other dumb schmuck work for you, then be the best boss that the guy has ever had. Think of the transformed Scrooge in Dickens' A Christmas Carol and go help the Bob Cratchit's of the world.

Just remember this. Being your own boss takes risk and courage. But if you have something of value to offer the world, they'll buy it. I'm not kidding. It worked for me, and I know it will for you. Just don't make the mistake that I made of waiting until you were already 40 years old before you took the plunge.

And remember this, if you fail, you can always get another day job. They're easy to come by. But if you succeed... and you will, you'll find yourself wondering, as I did, what took you so long?!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Blogger Wasteland

Humm, it would seem as if in this vast wasteland that is cyberspace, that very few people read these little ramblings. The other day I sent an email to an old friend, in whose blog I am mentioned several times, and I was astounded to see just how much some people write. I mean, some of the entries go on for days and they occur every day! Damn.

What I really should be doing right now is writing reviews for musicweb, but I have simply not been in the mood.

I have been having a good time finding interesting new music at and surfing around Real Rhapsody, which I just recently installed.

By the way Nathan, if you are reading this, email me you schmuck. Enough with the elusive mystery anti-social man bullshit. Get a life and be a friend again.

Alreighte then. Guess it's time to go. Oh yeah, all of you who missed out on Lucas and Daniel's Lute concert last weekend are losers indeed. It was superb, sublime even. For ten bucks it was worth the drive to Plano. The 40 peeps that made it left changed for the better.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Labor day with the kids

Labor day holiday is great fun with Thad, Jeff and all the boys. We ate a bunch of steaks and drank a lot of beer.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

A sample of me handi-werk

Hello All. Here is a little sample of the kinds of reviews that I regularly write for various publications. I am kind of proud of this one. Hope you enjoy it.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)

The Turn of the Screw (1954)
A Chamber Opera in Two Acts with Prologue
Libretto by Myfanwy Piper, based on the novel by Henry James

Governess: Helen Field, soprano
Mrs. Grose: Menai Davies, mezzo-soprano
Peter Quint/Prologue: Richard Greager, tenor
Miss Jessel: Phyllis Cannan, mezzo-soprano
Flora: Machiko Obata, soprano
Miles: Samuel Linay, treble

Stage direction: Michael Hampe
Set design: John Gunter
Directed for Video and Television: Claus Viller

The Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Steuart Bedford, conductor

A joint production of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Cologne Opera for the 1990 Schwetzinger Festspiele.

Special features include a six-minute introduction to the opera and an eight-minute promotional trailer. Subtitled in English, French and Spanish.

ARTHAUS DVD 100 199 [108:00]

The composer and his music

Widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century, Benjamin Britten holds a place of special significance in British musical life in that he, through the success of his 1945 opera Peter Grimes single handedly restored English opera to the world stage. In his several subsequent works for the theater, Britten elevated the art of operatic expression to a level unseen since Verdi and Puccini, and in so doing proved himself to be the most able exponent of English vocal music since Henry Purcell. His motto: “To be useful and for the present,” was fulfilled in his dramatic works by a number of innovations, most appreciably through his work with The English Opera Group, founded by himself, Peter Pears, John and Myfanwy Piper and others, to resuscitate opera performances in England after the war years. His experience working with the Crown Film Unit, for whom he wrote numerous scores before the war, was to pay off in spades, as it provided him with the necessary training ground to master the use of minimal orchestral forces to maximum effect. In The Turn of the Screw he turns the modest forces of six singers and fifteen instruments in to high drama of nearly Wagnerian impact.

The story

Set in a country manor house in nineteenth century England, the Governess, whose name, oddly, we never know, agrees to take charge of two children, left in the temporary care of the housekeeper Mrs. Grose after the mysterious deaths of Quint, the butler and Miss Jessel, the former governess. She is bothered by doubts, and has particular reservations after accepting the condition that she is under no circumstances to contact the children’s guardian for assistance. Upon her arrival, her warm reception by the children and Mrs. Grose allay her fears for the moment. One night in the Garden, she encounters a strange man on the tower; a man whom she later learns is the ghost of the dead Quint. Mrs. Grose is horrified, wondering if there will be no end to Quint’s evil meddling.

Later, on a walk by the lake, Flora, the elder child encounters the spirit of Miss Jessel. After interrupting a late night encounter between the children and the two ghosts, the governess realizes that the children are being haunted and vows to leave immediately. Upon second thought, however, she concludes that she cannot leave the children alone and unprotected, and writes a letter to her employer, begging for help. The ghost of Quint, however, entices young Miles to steal the letter. Mrs. Grose sets off for London with Flora to escape the influence of the phantom Miss Jessel, and the governess remains behind to attempt to gain Miles confidence so that she can rescue him from Quint. Quint appears again, however, and after a tremendous struggle of will, Miles banishes the ghost by speaking his name aloud, and then collapses in death. The governess is left to mourn her ultimate failure.

The Psychodrama

An overriding theme in much of Britten’s stage output is the struggle of the outcast to be accepted by society. This was an issue near to his own psyche, as he himself struggled to overcome the stigma which his open homosexuality placed upon him in early twentieth century England. In addition, at least one prominent biographer has revealed Britten’s tendency towards pedophilia (a tendency for which there is no evidence that he ever acted upon) is at play in this opera, given the darker undertones of the type of hold that the adult Peter Quint has over the adolescent Miles. Further, Britten’s characters display the tendencies that Freud described in his Studies on Hysteria, by which the fears of the subconscious mind are brought to the fore uncontrollably, and therefore become reality. By the end of the opera, the zeal with which the governess attempts to protect the children becomes an obsession, one that ends in disaster with the girl child in delirium and the boy child dead.

The Production

John Gunter’s stark, gray set designs go miles to aid Michael Hampe’s very convincing visual concept of the opera. Little is done in the way of special effects and lighting to make Miss Jessel and Quint appear ghostlike. Instead, they are often kept at a distance from the “living” characters, either by placing them far upstage or high above the other action. Lighting effects are minimal, and thus, when something special does occur, it is all the more dramatic and attention grabbing. Costumes are simple and of the period, and properties are kept to a minimum so as to allow the observer to concentrate more on the dialogue and the facial and physical reactions of the characters, masterfully choreographed by Hampe, and splendidly executed by the cast. If there is a visual distraction at all in this otherwise exquisite production, it is the prissy conducting style of Steuart Bedford, whom we see at every scene-change variation in the pit. His pinky-up, overly dainty baton technique quickly becomes an annoyance, and in truth is the only flaw in this performance that otherwise borders perfection.

The Singing and the Orchestra

With the exception of the aforementioned affected stick technique of the conductor, this is an assembly of musicians, vocal and otherwise, that is without peer. Helen Field is magnificent in her lyric, effortless singing, and she excels as an actress. Her performance is consistently emotional and dramatic without ever lapsing into sloppy mugging or melodrama. Menai Davies is a perfect foil for Field as Mrs. Grose. She plays the character exactly as she should be: somewhat provincial in her outlook, yet deeply compassionate and concerned for the welfare of all in her charge. Richard Greager, as the Prologue and Quint is menacing as the spectral predator. His singing has the dramatic depth of the late Peter Pears without the elder’s quirky timbre. He is perfectly partnered by Phyllis Cannan, whose rich dramatic mezzo, a saber wrapped in velvet, is terrifying with her Vampira-esque mane of hair and funereal black dress. The children (although Flora is played by an adult soprano) are equally impressive. Machiko Obata, who was born and first studied in Japan has a clear light voice and is adept at shifting from playful child to terrified victim. Most impressive is her flawless, impeccable English diction. Samuel Linay proves himself to be quite the actor and musician in this very taxing role. He is thoroughly convincing as the innocent, who at times is victim, at times collaborator and ultimately, hero.

To summarize:

This is a striking production, with magnificent performances by all concerned. Despite my one complaint about Maestro Bedford, he is thoroughly familiar with this score and is in lockstep with Britten’s creative imagination. His orchestra plays without flaw. The production values are of the first order. Although subtitles are available, English-speaking audiences will have no need for them, as everyone in the cast is possessed of the very clearest enunciation and diction. Every single word is understandable upon first hearing, making this a performance that ranks miles above many of its kind. No lover of opera will want to be without this, an utterly winsome rendition of the work of a master composer at the top of his game.

Kevin Sutton

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Digital Autobios

Brian Link, a countertenor from the twin cities comments that these wonderful blogs are going to the the research sites for future geneologists. One can hope that they will last that long and that the hosts will keep them alive after we're dead and gone.

I like to think also, that the electronic media have resurrected the almost lost art of correspondence. Imagine how much less we would know about the great figures of history if we didn't have their letters to read now! Long live the written word, and viva those who can still turn a phrase.

Monday, August 16, 2004

A Worthy Cause for Residents of the Metroplex

Just a brief note to invite readers of this journal to visit and consider becoming a volunteer reader for persons with learning differences or who cannot see. This is a wonderful organization that broadcasts reading material and gives away hundreds of recorded books to persons who could not otherwise enjoy them. Volunteer readers are always needed and the amount of material that can be recorded is infinite.

By volunteering to read books on the show Cover to Cover, I have quite rediscovered my love for a good novel, and it has re-established my discipline for reading on a regular basis.

To my students: This is a great way to accomplish your community service hours as required by many of your individual schools.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

An interesting new cd

Ahh, sweet memories of my youth, when the English Madrigal was the center of the universe. Just finished giving a rave to Anthony Rooley's 1982 (the year I graduated high school, eeek!) recording of madrigals and ayers by Thomas Morley, perhaps the most famous if not the most gifted of English madrigalists.

Ah what sweet music to my ears. If indeed there is a perfect vocal art form, it's the madrigal, and if there is a perfect group to sing them, it's the Consort of Musicke. Ah thank you Evelyn and Emma for your dulcet tones!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A Child Left Behind

The headline in this morning’s paper read, “Failed at every turn, boy had little chance for life.” As I stood in the grocery store line and read the first part of the story, my heart sank at the tale of an eleven year old boy, born three months premature to a fourteen year old mother who was buried this weekend after eleven horrific years of neglect and abuse. The child didn’t stand a chance. Or did he?

Mr. President Bush, in his customary doublespeak wishes to leave no child behind. This moral crusader also wants to see to it that our family values are not destroyed by the possibility of two loving responsible adults who happen to be of the same gender sharing in the holy and legal bond of marriage.

Mr. President, the child they buried in your home state of Texas was left behind. Left behind by parents who gave him nothing more than biology. By a social worker who failed to remove the infant from a home where abuse was evident from the time he was two months old. Failed by a society who would rather allow a helpless child to starve to death before risking his morals to a home in which both loving parents were of the same anatomical makeup.

Mr. President, one of the saddest things for me about being a gay man is the slim to none chance that I will ever have the joy of fatherhood. It’s a real trick in Texas to adopt a child if you’re gay. It’s a trick to do it if you aren’t rich like the good folk whose tax dollars you are so eager to protect.

However, Mr. President, had I have been given the chance to be a father, that boy who was buried in the great state of Texas yesterday would not have known pain, would not have known hunger, would not have felt his tiny body being abused and he most certainly would not be dead.

But your morals will not allow me to raise this child. My perverted sense of family would be detrimental to the child’s mental health. He would have never been able to cope with not having a nu-cu-ler family like yours.

Oh well, Mr. President. At the tender age of eleven, the boy of whom I speak is, well, dead. In his eleven short years on this planet, he never knew love; he never knew what it was like to have a full stomach and a clean place to sleep. He never knew what it was like to be held and to be read a story. He never knew life.

I guess he’s better off now. Congratulations Mr. President. You done good. You protected another child from the clutches of some nasty homosexual like me. I hope you feel real, real good about yourself.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Some thoughts on making music

In just a few days, The Helios Ensemble will begin rehearsals for its sixth season. This is an amazing thing in and of itself, that is, that we have been able to stay around for this long and still find the meagre resources to make music together.

As I approach our sixth season, I am still disappointed that we don't have a strong enough board, and that the eternal task of fund raising takes up more of our time than rehearsing and performing wonderful music. But we stay with it, and with the help and generosity of the great people who have been there for us year after year, and with the superb musicianship and dedication of our wonderful singers, we will continue to be a force for good in the world.

Since returning from Oberlin, I have learned a few more valuable lessons. Did the experience of BPI change my life? Certainly. And perhaps it's a good thing that I only do one conference like BPI per year, lest my life be changed more often than my clothes!

It is however, a good thing to share your work with your colleagues, and it is even better to be surrounded by people who are better at it than you, and to be able to encourage those who are less experienced.

Anytime that I spend with Leif, who numbers amongst my dearest friends in the world, sharpens me both as a person and a musician.  He makes me understand the value of hard work and dedication to my craft. He points out, in a very kind and gentle way, the shortcomings that I might have in my approach to my art. He re-teaches me patience, and the value of consistent, hard work. To have spent two full weeks with him in a purely musical atmosphere was great medicine for me, and I have approached my work with a new resolve.

There are others too. Nancy Zylstra has been an inspiration to me not to take this gift for granted, and has taught me that to do anything less than maximize what I have been given through consistent and persisitent struggle for perfection is to waste something precious and irreplaceable: the gift of singing so generously given to me.

Thank you to all of you who have and continually do inspire me to keep on. Thank you to all of the singers in Helios who continue to show up, and to give well beyond what is required of you to make this venture work. Thank you to the great musicians that want to work with us in the future. And thanks be to God for such a gift as music.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

A pleasant day

Some Sundays are just meant to be ideal. Church first this morning, which, for a change I actually enjoyed. Except for the music, Incarnation can be drudgery! Then off for lunch by myself and a trip to the local Borders Book Store.

After which, a splendid, undisturbed three hour nap! Sublime.

Then snacks with Bob and Patsy Brooks and off to a concert featuring five female opera singers. On the whole quite fine, with Bob and Patsy's daughter, Natalie and a mezzo named Julie stealing the show.  Note to other performers: seek fashion advice.  After concert, much reception socializing and then back to Bob and Patsy's for champagne, ice cream and the customary first rate conversation.

Some music listening and web surfing left for the afternoon, and then off to bed. Would that every day could be this pleasant!


Tenor Leif Aruhn-Solen, violinist Timothy Schwarz and me in the all night kitchen at the Baroque Performance Institure, Oberlin 2004. Posted by Hello

Renowned baritone Max van Egmond and tenor Jeffrey Rich at one of the infamous porch parties, BPI, June 2004. Posted by Hello

The Three Tenors. Leif Aruhn-Solen, Me and Jeffrey Rich. We had a blast doing our Three Tenors go B'roque concert.  Posted by Hello

Me in Leontyne drag as Lynfea in Cavalli's La Calisto. This is known as opera under duress! Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Tim Schwarz and John "Guy's Guy" Hanifin at one of the notorious porch parties. Posted by Hello

Some new photos

Thought you might like to see some of the fun things that we did at Oberlin this summer at BPI (the Baroque Performance Institute.)

Tim and Leif at the Baroque Performance Institute Posted by Hello

The non eventful Saturday

There isn't really very much to report today, except that I taught two voice lessons, did a little practicing, recorded my radio show and edited down some material from live concerts to use for demo purposes.

Nice peaceful dinner and an evening by the Chiminea (known to the in-crowd as "the bong") with the Ockelmanns, and tomorrow brings the tedious task of double church services. Maybe I'll get lucky and Fr. Price will be preaching, which will be enough to at least keep me awake for most of the service.

Tomorrow evening brings dinner with the Brookses and then out to hear their daughter and my colleague Natalie in a summer concert in Mesquite. That should be an enjoyable evening since any time spent with Bob and Patsy is fun.

Glad to hear that Mother Judy Bowman is checking out these pages. Coolest woman this side of Venus that lady! Not to mention one of the most courageous. Everyone could learn a lesson from Mom Bowman about how to live life gracefully in the face of what to most people would be insurmountable challenges.

Things are coming together for my Euterpe projects.  Now if we can chase down the bastard accountant who has all of my back records and has fled the planet! Go Marsha!

Enough of my rambling.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Free lancing is Hell

The problem with starting new missions in life is that you create more work for yourself by so doing. Oh well. Some really exciting things are coming out of my new company to be, with hats off to Pat "the Bone" Gary for suggesting the name for the enterprise. (See his comments under last posting, and check out his blog, which can be found here:

Patrick is one of the deeper thinkers I know, and discussions with him can get really serious really fast. He's a fine musician and fellow music critic for

If you want to read our profound thoughts on recent cds go to:

From there, click on the MUSICWEB tab. To read moi, type [KS] exactly as shown here with the square brackets in the search engine to find my list of reviews. To view Pat's, substitute his initials in the square brackets [PG].

The next new venture for Euterpe Music Projects after Lucas and Dan and then the Nancy Z weekend, will hopefully be a visit by the brilliant British violinist, Jack Liebeck.  Visit his website, and check out this incredible musician's work at .

This guy is the next Josh Bell, and he's very cool and friendly too. Stay tuned. More on his probable Dallas debut later.

Meanwhile, life is grand, I am busy, and had a groovy time exercising with Greg and Regina, then going back and putting it all back on in the form of Dos Equis!!!! Viva beer!

Have fun everyone, and be sure to post comments!!!!!


Sunday, July 18, 2004

The New Grand Scheme of Things

Announcing the birth of my new musical enterprise, Euterpe Music Projects. Within a few weeks, when all the legal bs is finished I will actually have a business through which to put on concerts and make and market recordings of projects that lie outside the realm of Helios.
And, I will be able to hire myself and avoid nasty self employment tax rates!!!
By the way, everyone needs to come to hear Lucas and Dan in their duo lute recital on September 11. These guys are nails! Don't miss it.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Announcements and stuff you need to know

On Saturday, September 11,  my buddy Lucas Harris and his buddy Dan will be in Dallas to play a duo lute concert. 8:00 pm at the Church of the Holy Nativity in Plano which is at the corner of 18th street and Jupiter Road. Tickets are $10 general admission, call me at 214.893.1573 to reserve a ticket or to purchase in advance.
On Saturday October 2, The Helios Ensemble will present Menotti's The Medium at the home of Bob and Patsy Brooks as a fund raiser for the choir. Tickets are $50 for individuals, $85 for a couple, and the price of admission is tax deductible, less $15 per person. Call the number above for further information.
From October 22-24, Nancy Zylstra will be here to conduct a vocal workshop and master class. Registration fee is $60 for auditors and observers, $75 if you wish to sing in class. A limited number of private lessons with Nancy are available at an extra charge of $50. Again, contact me above if you need registration information, etc.
Have  a great day all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Today's thougts

How very cool. Someone has responded already. Of course, the invitation to visit my friend Hildigunnur's blog will be interesting, since it's all in Icelandic! For those of you who have an interest in such things, Hildigunnur Runarsdottir is not only a really cool lady, she's one hell of a composer. I am not sure if she has her own web site, but she rocks as a composer!

Well, it's late, and I need to get some sleep. Lots of students and rehearsals tomorrow.

By the way, today is John "guy's guy" Hanifin's birthday. Send him good vibes!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Day's Thoughts

Having just returned from the incredible experience that was the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institue, I find myself being at a very strange disconnect at the moment. Still reeling from the great times I had in Ohio, it is rather difficult to return to a workaday routine. It seems as though I have left something undone in the midwest; that perhaps I didn't take full advantage of what was there to be had, or that perhaps I took undue advantage of the generosity of a few people.

For all of the great things that happened to me there, I feel perhaps that I missed some important opportunities, perhaps let some potentially wonderful relationships slip through my fingers or took others for granted and didn't express my full appreciation.

Whatever happened to me, I know that I am changed and I can't wait until next year to continue the journey. That's the glory of BPI, there's always next year to do better.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Some exciting news

It appears that we are a go for two great cultural events here in the big D. First, in September we will be bringing Lucas Harris to Dallas for an evening of Lute music. That's gonna rock!

Then, in October, we'll host famed soprano Nancy Zylstra for a weekend workshop and master class. Details to follow.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

This would be me. Posted by Hello

The first crack at a new experience

Ahhh. So this is a weblog. Never wanting to be outside of the technological loop, and since I am partial to long winded musings, I guess it is appropriate that I start this thing and see where it goes. Since it's late and I have to get up in the morning, I will perhaps be but brief for this first posting, and say only that I welcome discussions, contradictions, disagreements, huzzahs, and raspberries all in good stride. If you come here, do be civil and polite though, as I have a strong distaste for mean people.

Welcome aboard the tenor diaries. There will be much to contemplate as we travel.