The Phantom of Genevieve’s

Phantom of the Opera Program
Photo by Carin Perretta

Continuing the impossibly busy weekend…

Today we had friends drop by for a visit. We were happy to have Steve and Linda Serkiz come by for coffee. I hadn’t seen them in years. I was at Furman with both of them, and Steve was in one of Laura’s first classes that she taught there. Steve is now down at the Savannah River Site as a research scientist, doing some very cool things with carbon nano tubes and other nano technology. I may have to wrangle a visit so that I can get a closer look at Ellenton and some of the other SRS ghost town sites.

In the evening I was supposed to be two places at once. I was SUPPOSED to be singing the National Anthem at the Greenville Drive game with the Greenville Chorale. However, the opportunity to attend Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center came up, and we opted for that instead. Continue reading “The Phantom of Genevieve’s”

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne

To Joy

Joy, thou beauteous godly lighting,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent’ring
Heavenly, thy holy home!

Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom stern divide;
Every man becomes a brother,
Where thy gentle wings abide.

Be embrac’d, ye millions yonder!
Take this kiss throughout the world!
Brothers—o’er the stars unfurl’d
Must reside a loving father.

–Friedrich Schiller, 1786

Last night the Greenville Chorale joined forces with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  The 9th is one of my favorite pieces, and I’ve had the privilege to perform it once before.  Last night’s performance, though was one of the most stirring I’ve ever experienced.

For the Chorale, the piece came together fairly quickly.  Many of us were familiar with the music, but also the chorus doesn’t sing that much in the concert.  We’re only there for the last half of the last movement of the piece – about 20 minutes worth. Bing Vick often let us out of rehearsals early, which was a nice change of pace.

However, that is a VERY challenging 20 minutes.  First there is the range.  The piece is written at the extreme upper vocal range for all parts.  I can’t think of another piece that has the basses singing a high F as many times and as long as this one does.  Then there was the tempo set by Maestro Tchivzhel – fast, then blindingly fast.  We had to squeeze a mouthful of German syllables into such a fast pace that I don’t think any of us got all of the words correct, even in the final performance.  Oh, yeah, they had to be on the right pitches and at the right dynamic, too.  It was a bear. Continue reading “O Freunde, nicht diese Töne”

Defying Gravity

For Laura’s birthday in October I had gotten her tickets to the traveling show of the musical “Wicked,” which is supposed to be the untold story of the witches of OZ. The show started at the Peace Center last week, and our tickets were for Sunday evening. It turned out to be an absolute blast! … Continue reading Defying Gravity

The Blasphemous Messiah

I apparently committed blasphemy. At least, that’s the impression I got this evening at rehearsal. I introduced an electronic synthesizer to a baroque orchestra. It all started with a conversation that went something like this… Bing: I don’t know if we’ll have a piano available for our Cliffs Valley gig. Me: I’ve got a Yamaha … Continue reading The Blasphemous Messiah

A Salute to American Music

Tonight the Greenvile Chorale joins forces with the Greenville Symphony for a concert at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts entitled “A Salute to American Music.” With a historic election day just around the corner, the music is meant to celebrate all that is America. The concert begins with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the … Continue reading A Salute to American Music

2nd Mahler’s 2nd

For the second time in less than a year I am performing Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, and this is the second orchestra with whom I’ve performed this work. The Greenville Chorale joined the Greenville Symphony this weekend for two performances, one Saturday night and one Sunday afternoon. Last time, we performed with the Brevard Music Center … Continue reading 2nd Mahler’s 2nd


For my birthday back in December Laura had given me tickets to Spamalot at the Peace Center. It seemed light April 12 would never get here, but finally the time arrived, and we headed downtown Saturday night for the performance. Any time a beloved work of art (if this can be considered such) is transformed … Continue reading Spamalot

Larkins on the River

I’m sure that Gordon Ramsay would prefer that his name be associated with the four-star restaurants where he has been chef and owner. However, most Americans know him through his BBC show, “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares,” where he spends a week trying to save failing restaurants. So now, having a “Gordon Ramsay experience” has very little … Continue reading Larkins on the River