Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sing for Your Supper

On April 29th I gave my Specialist Degree recital at Kerrytown Concert House, which is an absolutely adorable concert venue in Ann Arbor.  Basically it's a converted residence set up as a concert house that moonlights as an art gallery for exhibits by local artists.  I think the display set up while I was there had something to do with nature (as can be seen in the photo's below), but I will admit one of the pieces looked like a bunch of hair weave tacked up on a wall.  We'll just say it was titled "Roots: Abstract" or something equally vague and pretentious.

This recital was not only a culmination of the two years spent on my Specialist Degree, but also of the previous two of my Masters and my training at Baylor while getting my Bachelor.  This, as it were, was the last performance I would ever give as a student, and I must say I am more than generally pleased with the evening!

The recital consisted of the following music:

Im Lebenslenz by Ernst von Dohnanyi
Cincon canciones populares Argentinas by Alberto Ginastera
Voices of World War II by Gene Scheer

The first is a very seldom done set by a Hungarian composer who wrote only twelve songs in his whole career.  For the life of me I can't figure out why no one sings them because they are ab.so.lute.ly beautiful, but no recordings can be found of them save one random song from the set sung by some chick in Scandinavia and no one I mentioned them to even knew he had written any songs.  The spanish set was one that I had actually done on another recital for a pianist and so it was easy to transfer to my own recital.  Well... that and it was ten minutes of music I had in the bag already and meant I wouldn't have to learn another set. The Gene Scheer pieces are all based on storied by soldiers of that era.  When I told my voice teacher I wanted to do them she screamed: "Oh GENE! I went to school with him and we lived in Germany around the same time and he and my husband wrote a musical together!!"  And that is one of the many reasons I love what I do-- I can't wait to be able to say: "Oh SO-AND-SO!!, she was my first Countess!" and so on.

One of the reasons this post is so dreadfully detached from the date of the actual event is because I had originally intended on trying to upload some of the audio from the recital so you could listen to selections from that evening. Unfortunately, there was a problem in the recording process and a CD never got made..  Kerrytown has offered to let me come back to record it at no charge but I haven't exactly been able to work it out with my accompanist, as we are both super busy.  Hopefully I can work something out towards the end of summer, but I thought in the mean time I could share a couple of pictures! 

This is actually after the recital but before the encore.  My wonderful wonderful pianist was John Boonenberg.  JBOO! And yes, this is the best shot of me.  Here I am announcing the encore, James Taylor's arrangement of "The Water is Wide", which I sang for......

MY MOTHER!!  She was able to come up from Tejas and spend a couple of days enjoying the sights (and sounds of course) of Ann Arbor for maybe the last time

The reception afterwards.  My teacher, Freda Herseth, is the woman in the middle with the snow white hair of a woodland sprite.  The man she is talking to is Grammy(c) award winning conductor Jerry Blackstone, with whom I had the pleasure of working during my Masters Degree in the University of Michigan Chamber Choir. [that's right I said it: "with whom"]

(Just in case you needed a little proof of his award winning-ness!  This picture was taken surreptitiously while at a party at their house a couple of years ago.)

The Pottery Barn contingency!!! Or as my mother calls is: "If all of you are here, then who is watching the store?"  There were actually others who came but weren't able to make the picture.  It means so much you came to see me outside of all the glitz and glamor of the retail stock room!

Again I must say thank you thank you to everyone who took the time out of their respective schedules to come and see something I worked very hard on and was very proud of.  And though some of you weren't able to make it, I do still hope to make a recording of it at some point.  In the meantime, however, please take advantage of live music wherever you live.  I promise you it is there if you just look! (I know, I know... a little preachy, but DO IT!  SUPPORT THE ARTS! NOOOW!)


  1. Joseph, I'm so sorry your recording didn't work out because the night was fabulous!
    If you're moving out of state, I will miss popping in to Pottery Barn for a quick "hi!" Much luck with everything you do!
    Karen Tuttle (the woman with the three crazy kids)

  2. The picture of you and Nancy is gorgeous! I love it! So proud of you!


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