Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"The Light at the end of the Tunnel"

All who decide to make the journey concerning the truth of vocal development understand
how difficult (and often disastrous) this can be, and every teacher would like to believe that he has a correct path of growth for the voices placed in his care.

A couple of years ago a young man by the name of Andy Watt came to me in search of vocal support. Andy is a very successful New York City attorney, but his heart's dream is to write and produce his own music partially contingent on a secure knowledge and production of his voice.

I feel like a proud parent because the voice we began with is no longer what we now hear. Andy's voice has grown and strengthened as the result of his talent, hard work and determination.

You can just imagine the joy in my heart when I look into the face of a singer who is bursting with pride and self confidence. Andy Watt, you are to be commended; you have the courage and integrity to pursue your dream and bring it to life. I hope that "the light at the end of the tunnel" continues to grow brighter and more brilliant for you. I, along with all your fellow students from our Master Classes, applaud you.

"It's impossible to think that he's gone"

In my previous blog I mentioned a few of the icons whom we have recently lost. None was more ingrained in our lives, worldwide and across generations, than Michael Jackson. His virtually unclassifiable voice was the best of the tenors (highest note, B5; lowest note, E2; Michael possessed a four octave range by the 1990s) and we were blessed to have experienced the beauty of his natural gifts in our lifetimes. His presence was so huge "It's impossible to think that he's gone."

A Master in the art of giving and in giving excellence, MJ has left the ultimate void.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Void

My heart is full, sharing both my own good times and constant growth alongside those of my students. The reason I have been able to teach and continually move forward is because of the "Giants" who went before me. I was fortunate enough to have witnessed and shaped my own gift based on the greatness of these Magical Artists. Their passing has left a tremendous void that for me can never be filled.

This past Friday, we lost Shirley Verrett, who gave us flawless performances at the Met and other great houses in the world; she was truly a Mezzo Soprano who was one of the best of the best. Two or three weeks ago we lost Joan Sutherland, who defined the dramatic coloratura heroines of the Bel Canto repertoire like no one else in modern times.

Think of our losses this year and over the past few years: James Brown; Luciano Pavarotti; Lena Horne; Lou Rawls; Benny Powell; Giuseppi Taddei; and Giulietta Simionato to name a few.

They have left a void that is unmistakable, the Magic they created cannot truly be captured and experienced on the two dimensional DVD and Youtube venues, etc. But were it not for them our youth would not have a clue as to what I speak of concerning the Golden Ages of Jazz, Bel Canto, and Musical Theatre--the men and women who defined it and caused others like myself to strive for their quality of excellence.

Because your passings are so recent I must say, Miss Verrett and Miss Sutherland, you are most sorely missed and I, for one, truly feel the loss and The Void.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Another special event to share with my followers!!!

Some time ago while living in Boston, I had the good fortune of being a part of
"The New England Spiritual Ensemble," created and directed by Mr. Vincent Stringer, "Baritone Extraordinaire."

I was so flattered when he asked me to to become a member. My stay with the ensemble was short-lived but remains one of my most fulfilling experiences. Mr. Stringer had the foresight to recognize the importance and rich legacy of the African American Spiritual.

Several days ago Vincent found me on the Internet and posted on my website. Right away I called and we had a great conversation catching up with each others recent activities. Vincent is presently at Morgan State heading the Opera Dept. His ensemble is now based in D.C. and re-named "The National Spiritual Ensemble." We look forward to exploring artistic possibilities once again. He is also a dear friend of my wife Etta who was as blown away as I, at our reacquaintance with our dear friend and fellow artist, Vincent Stringer.