Showing posts from September, 2007


Everything worth doing has a cost.
Everything has a cost.
The trick is to do the stuff worth doing without incurring more cost than you can manage.
How do you decide what is worth doing versus what is "fluff"?

In the business world, decisions are actually pretty easy if you manage well. Cost vs benefit is a pretty clear answer when it comes to investing.

In the "family" world, particularly the arts world, it is not so easy to make calls. We are starting something new, there is an adoption curve, and a window where it takes time to get established. How long is it? Our goal is to increase volume of work and value to the "world", not to increase profit.

When you can't cut costs any more, it is time to increase revenue or cash inflow. time to raise money any way we can. Even that plan has a price. Give up control, spread the load.. but NEVER compromise the education & experiences we provide.


The music is enough, or it should be if you are a musician. I have been reflecting over the competition experience a bit in the last few days. Okay, truthfully, I couldn't sleep last night and this is a summary of what I was thinking about until about 2am...

As a musician, I spent most of my formative years trying to please the other musicians around me. I am a pleaser, I know that... I needed to do it good enough. I needed to always be better. The equation here is not totally wrong for me now. I understand that I do need to continually strive for excellence, continually try to improve myself, my knowledge, and my skills. However, I do not do all of that because of others. I do it because I have been given a blessing by God and I am obligated to use and share my talents. The music and the intersection it provides between performer, composer, audience and source is worthy of this attention and diligence.

Charles' wonderful quote about the Artist Experience resounds in my …

Liszt songs

I have been studying and doing some basic research on Liszt songs. Very exciting repertoire for Charles and I to work on. I can't remember the last time I was inspired to do research/musicology type work just for me. It might have been at some point in undergraduate at WCC.. ;-)

I have been exploring Google Apps and the data below is posted in one of my "docs".. very cool as a reference.

Liszt stuff to read: publications/books/songs


Miller, Richard. “The Songs of Franz Liszt.” Preface to the score of Franz Liszt: Twenty-five
Songs for Voice and Piano, vol. 1. New York: International Music Company, 1998.

Turner, Ronald. “A Comparison of Two Sets of Liszt-Hugo Songs.” Journal of the American
Liszt Society 5 (June 1979): 16-31.

Headington, Christopher. “The Songs.” In Franz Liszt: The Man and His Music, ed. Alan
Walker, 221-247. London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1970.

Hennemann, Monika. “Liszt’s Lieder.” In The Cambri…

Westminster choir online video

Wow, found this video of the choir concert and couldn't remember if I had posted it before. This is an excellent job of adapting a choral concert experience for online video presentation.

Just do it ?

Nike has branded this phrase and as I have gone through this week, it has struck home. I have made many choices in the past 12-18 months and the overwhelming instinct in most cases was to wait and think, analyze, gather feedback, etc..

All of that is valuable, but the real plan must be to spend time in prayer, seeking guidance from God. We are not to trust in our own abilities. We are in fact told to rely on him for all things. The question always arises: What does that mean for me now?

My answer: If you have put the preparation time in in prayer and you are operating out of faith, then you must "JUST DO IT".

Preparation is key, but action is required.

Liszt was famous for quote which in essence said. We are obligated to share our gifts with the world. Not asked.. we are OBLIGATED, ASSIGNED, EXPECTED...

That means giving, not getting. Intentionality is where it starts and finishes. The results are not the goal. Judgement and worth is not up to us. God just says &qu…

Buon Giorno

We are in the finals of the Garrison competition. Yesterday's semis went well and we are pleased to be performing along with such wonderful artists.  Since our performance is at 11:30 this am, we awoke very early and I am writing this as I sit in the beautiful sun room of Ariel and Vivian Dechosa, watching the world slowly fill with light.  Charles came upstairs just now and shared Psalm 59:15-16 with me and I also shared Fernando Ortega's "Creation Song" with him. 
Today as we enter into the glory of music making I pray that our music can touch those around us and that our performance will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. 
I will sing to the Lord all my life, I will sing praises to my God.
Psalm 59:15-16 ( KJV) Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.  But I will sing of the power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

Press to Podcast

The Midlothian exchange published a nice article about my upcoming competition. worth a few minutes.

And we now have an official "podcast". Lots of good recordings up there including some of our material for the competion this weekend. click here to visit. You can even subscribe to it in your iTunes and download to your iPod or iPhone.. If you are lucky enough to have one.

Preparation for...

Charles and I finished our last major rehearsal last night for the Garrison competition. I was struck by the impermanence of so much of our work. As musicians, our preparation is not a finite event. This feels like I am stating the obvious. We prepare, practice, practice, practice, and then when the clock strikes the time.. We execute and perform where we are. As a teacher I have tried to explain this concept to my students for a long time through overly melodramatic statements..

"The perfect performance does not exist.
We can never be good enough, if we think we are good enough, we should quit"

For me, this reality is best defined by the concepts I have learned from Charles Hulin, post school. Our performance is an exploration of a point in time and space. The intersection of performer, composer, poet, and audience into one fleeting experience. Each member of the previous list has a role to play. Each must exhibit maturity and give of themselves in an open, honest, transp…


Today is an appropriate time for reflections.
I remember hearing about the event at breakfast in the restaurant of the Hotel at Va Beach. I remember making it back to the room just in time to see the second plane hit. I remember resolving to use music to get through it. I remember being concerned about my distance from my church family during the crisis. I remember being glad that I was with my family. I remember feeling angry and wanting to lash out at those who had attacked us. I remember a profound sense of pride and unity as an American.
Things have changed these days, but not my feelings. I remain proud of my country, my family and my decisions. I can only hope that we all embrace the leadership mantle thrust upon us by our position in the world. We must accept it with humility.

Reading Signals vs Noise blog today and I gleaned this wonderful wisdom...
The way you treat people is the legacy you leave
"There are different ways to lead. Some people get results by yelling and bu…


O, how I long for a time when churchgoers don't feel the need to judge others around them. Today, Tracee and I chose to sit out in the congregation with the kids so that we could see Josh be presented his First grade bible.. Almost everyone in choir understands this, or at least has the maturity to respect our decisions. But... not everyone does.

The looks, the smirks, the questioning. It is soooo typical, and this is from people that I love.. imagine what occurs from the people who don't even like us.

I am a mature musician, a mature Christian, an experienced parent, and I am not subject to the judgement of choir members on where I sit or what I do on Sunday morning. The accountability that I so often preach about, does not apply here. Somehow writing this actually makes me feel less irked by the whole thing.

Family trumps choir EVERY time both for the kids and for me. I will be sitting in the congregation at least once a month from now on so that I can enjoy worshipping …


I gave my performance at Chowan last night and I think it may have been some of the best singing I have EVER done. I love the pressure, the adulation, the intensity and the pure fear before the "moments" that occur in live performance like this.
As a tenor, I was overwhelmed by the loss of Luciano Pavarotti yesterday and I shared my personal Pavarotti story with the audience last night. At the intermission, I talked with Charles and Kathy and thought about how I always thought that I would have the chance to sing and perform for him again. I just "expected" to be able to interact with him once I became a professional. Naive, arrogant, hopeful... my emotions and memories are all largely irrelevant now that he is gone. I will not have that chance in this world. Perhaps I missed it, perhaps I simply made the right decisions and prioritized. Regardless, A GREAT artist and light has gone out of the world. Pavarotti transcended opera and classical singing. He def…

Perspective (coffee or cup)

My friend Ricky sent this to me today. I am thankful for him. I don't usually like or even read multiple forwards but this one was different..for some reason I can't explain. I didn't write it, don't know who did, but I am thankful for their effort wherever they are...


A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the Professor said:

"If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.
While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, t…