Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blue Weekend

Last Thursday, I had the good fortune to be able to attend the final dress rehearsal of Dr. Atomic at the Metropolitan Opera. For the first twenty minutes of the piece, my eyes were glued to where a spotlight was shining up in the top center of a wall of cubicles that housed a colleague and friend from my days at the University of Michigan, waiting for him to sing his opening phrases that would be his Met debut a couple of nights later. He sounded beautiful and was wonderful to watch – it was exciting to watch him be on that stage that we all dream of singing on, and it got me thinking of our times at Michigan, where we cut our musical and vocal teeth together, learned the basics of our craft, laughed about our educational missteps along the way and congratulated each other on our successes. I was proud to see him up there, an important part of such a moving and powerful event at the Met, living his dream.

After an adventurous Friday, I actually ventured back to Michigan for a quick trip to attend another college friend's wedding. Leaving the airport, I was surprised to see just how colorful the trees were – after so many years of missing Fall in Michigan, I had forgotten just how breathtaking a Michigan Autumn can be. A couple other UM friends and colleagues were there, and we provided some music as we watched our friend tie the knot. Seeing her come down the aisle in her wedding dress, I couldn't help but remember that it was the end of one my relationships in college that cemented our friendship as she held my hand through that terrible time and helped me move on. After all those deep, intense discussions about the nature of love and relationships, my heart swelled to see her pledge herself to the man that she loved.

To see how far we have all come was overwhelming – I was filled with nostalgia and memories, happiness, giddiness, and pride. I was also anxious to see how much farther we will all grow.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

An American Musical Challenge

While I have to devote much time right now to getting my Rossini chops back into shape for my sojourn next month in Atlanta, I also have a set of Ives songs that I have to prepare for a small, private Salon concert next month with a very special and interesting organization that presents innovative and fascinating themed chamber music programs in New York. A year ago, the challenge I faced was fastiduously attempting to get my Rossini chops in some sort of order. Now, in many ways, the Rossini feels almost easy and like greeting an old friend, and these mysterious, eccentric, and intricate songs by Ives are proving to be the challenge this I face fall. In all honesty, I haven't even thought about Ives since my freshman music history class at U of M – odd, considering that I am an American musician. What is amazing about them is that they seem so accessible and familiar on one level and so challenging and strangely alien on others. Deciphering his musical landscape is proving to be a slightly slower process than I am used to or expected. Unexpectedly, I find myself being pushed into new musical territory that I, much to my surprise, never really explored.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I escaped to LA this weekend to visit Jeremy, and to do something that was to both of us extraordinary. We got legally married. To be able to do it was something beyond our wildest dreams, and the most overwhelming part of the whole experience was the amount of love and support we received and felt from around the world. For a variety of reasons, we decided upon doing this in California and because of both the time period that Jeremy was going to be working out there and the impending threat of Proposition 8, we ended up having a small ceremony on short notice. Even though only my brother and Jeremy's sister were able to be there, our small ceremony turned into something beautiful. A friend suggested another friend's mom who is a judge to marry us, and we ended up pledging our lives to each other in her beautiful backyard rather than in some courthouse with some officiator who was a stranger. People everywhere from Beijing to Kentucky called and emailed with their love and support, and our phones were constantly buzzing for the entirety of the day with messages congratulating us. When I thought about weddings, I always imagined that they were only about the love and union of the two people involved. I never realized that they are as much about the love and support of our communities around us, as well. Never have I felt so loved and adored, and never have I been so full of love – not just for Jeremy but for everyone who I am blessed to call a friend or a family member.

In case you are interested in supporting the movement against Proposition 8 in California go here.