Monday, March 24, 2008
The year is 1987 and I am on a plane for the first time. --
--My friend, Bill Garvey, who is a follower of a Bill
a Bill of adifferent kind, Billy Graham, is aboard the plane as well. --
--All of that's coincidence, and incidental to the upcoming story,
but nonetheless adds flavor to the narrative-angelical soup.--
--There is nothing angelic in the story I'm about to tell you; though the innocence in the main character, that would be me, will most certainly be a recurring theme.--
--So ride with me, if you will, in seat 12 A, directly next to the window, as we make our way to Rochester, New York, from the tiniest of tenoristic airports; the hub in Charlottesville, Virginia, home to none other than Dave and the Dave Matthews band. One of the premiere tenorial bands of the late twentieth century. --
--The school where I would be heading, was designed for a musical flavor of a different kind. Classical music. Strictly classical music. And this as it turned out, was a great love of mine.
--So I was heading up north to make a run at a musical career. With a brand new suit at hand and a sweet sonorous voice.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Having said that, I'll move straight to intermission with, of course, nothing less than more vocal pedagogy. Here is where I am at the moment:
---I. Within the context of a legato line, sound seems to parabolate laterally along the breath--with an emphasis on the word, "parabolate".
II. Bright vowels seem to parabolate backward along the front of the breath (the forward lean); releasing forward along the back.
III. Dark vowels seem to parabolate forward along the back of the breath (the backward lean); releasing backward along the front.
IV. The narrower the vowel, the lower it wants to sit.
V. The "ee", the narrowest of all, likes to parabolate backward along the platform of the hips; releasing forward along the top of the uh.....butt.
VI. The "oo" which is slightly wider, likes to sit, well, slightly higher; moving in the opposite directions.
VII. Of course the wider vowels like to sit in the ribs; still parabolating in both directions along the back and front of the breath, always attaching along the sides.
Just call me TT. Technical tenor. ---These descriptions, I suppose, represent to some degree, the idiosyncracies of my own voice, at this point in its development.
Wasn't this a lovely way to experience intermission; along the breath of a hot-aired TT.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Truly, imagine one of those piercing uppity poodles at your doorstep, annoying the living hell out of you with its relentless screeching, while its owner is enthralled with the clear, continuous ring of its adoring and adorable pet.--That was the experience of hearing Wes. Pure displeasure, for those of us with taste. --The Yankees may have loved him. No true Southerner would thrown roses on the stage.
Don't get me wrong. He was a raging success. Singing for the New York City Opera for nearly a decade, before winning the Cargnegie competition in the mid-1990's. With such a long stint at the Opera, and a successful win with good ol' Dale, he made his way to judge panels with the Met in D.C.--No wonder we have some of these barkers parading across stage as singers at the Met. Oh, well. To each his own.
By the time I met Wes, he was tired of it all really. --A Spinto C would, of course, grow impatient no matter the circumstance of his success. So he retired early, really, at age 39 to become a Baptist minister.
I liked him well, enough, really. And his voice was quite remarkable.--But I suppose even we Southern lyric tenors, yes we too, have a flare for the dramatic. So I left the duet of our romance in the middle of the third stanza, without even the courtesy of a harmonic departure. A permanent rest in the music, without the slightest sign of approaching absence.
Well, I've mellowed out since then. It only makes sense for a queen's lifestyle and presence to be properly aligned with his voice-type.--No?
Friday, March 21, 2008
Just say that phrase in your head, "Stumpy Little Fellow", and you'll know what it's like to be a Spinto tenor, ugly and jagged.--Wes could not sing a legato line to save his soul. Not even in the midst of a blossoming romance.
Wump. Wump. Humph. Humph. That was the way he walked. At 5 feet 3, no wonder. Dicker. Dicker. Humph. Humph. Always variations. But no legato line; not to save his soles.--He'd wear his shoes out before he'd even try them on; just by looking at them with his squinty Spinto Eyes.
But never mind his walk; or his brassy snarling voice.-- What really took the cake was concept of relationships. After our first date, he popped right down on the bed-ping. The bouncy Spinto proceeded to remove his clothing.
"What are you doing?"
"Well, it's time to shift gears."
"This is not how it's done."
"Oh, really. Well I've had no practice."
Even our conversations were jagged and jumpy. Staccato style. A Spintogato line.
--No fun for Greg, the seamless lyric--.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
It was as if we were driving to into a land of fiction, a dream that would last forever. Lake Infinity if you will. A timeless romance, with Greg and Doug as leading characters.
Yet we were boundariless. Each suspended in the other's smiles and laughter. We'd climb the hills with no sense of destiny or desire to reach the top. Allready at the pinnacle, zigzagging giddily from hill to hill.
The sun shone down on the hills creating every hue of gold and yellow imaginable. John Denver wrote a song called Almost Heaven. Here on the hilltops of Lake Michigan, Heaven found a place in our seamless interactions. Warm, golden, and silent.
The summer would soon end, and so would our romance. Months later Doug would write a note to my mother's address, a postcard signed "D". That would end my love for D. At the time I was fiercely closeted.
Two years later Doug became a Broadway Star, and still enjoys an illustrious career today.--In fact he'll be singing with the symphony here, this April. Hmmm.....should I bring him a golden wildflower from the banks of Lake Michigan?
Monday, March 17, 2008
But how would I ever meet him, shy boy that I was. a many years younger.
Well, I drummed up the courage, and mosied over to his cottage. He was standing at the doorstep whistling up a tune the way singers often do.
But then there came a pause, and I knew a rest in the music..... woud only build up anticipation.-- What else is silence for in the midst of a budding romance?
So I forwarded the converation, with the style of a true Southerner: "I am fascinated by your tap class. But I simply have no shoes. Do you have an extra pair? Perhaps in your....uh....closet?"
Well indeed he was more than happy to take me to his closet, and the romance proceeded from there, at the speed of a Michigan hurricane.
More about the still waters along the dunes sometime tomorrow.
Let's see, should I start with
Philip the redhead..... or
Doug the broadway belter......Hmmm....
--Doug was a real deary. Well, the truth is they all were.--
But I'll start with Doug.
It all started, you see, on a cool summer day, amidst the verdant green of the pristine Northern forests-- Interlochen, Michigan to be precise, a camp for musicians.
And oh was it camp. Queens galore. Queens in rehearsal rooms. Queens on front porches. --Queens sneaking a skinny dip in the lake next to campus. You couldn't walk from A to B without running into a queen. --A swarm of queens truly. Just buzzing their behinds everywhere.
Well, I had my behind at tap dance headquarters. The kids were all stomping away and making a ceremonial racket. But my eyes were completely glued on the glorious instructor. --Doug was his name.--Any guesses as to how everything unfolded?...."unfolded"?.....
To be continued.....