Year One

October 11, 2012

After a recent concert appearance in Dallas, I was talking with two women who were very excited to have discovered us. They are friends, and one of them had arrived at our concert at its beginning. She told us that she heard the first few bars of the first piece and immediately walked outside, called her friend, and told her to get in her car and drive to our show. This person lives 15 minutes away, and she explained that she wasn’t dressed for a concert, but she changed clothes and came. She arrived in time to hear us singing Andrew Smith’s ethereal setting of Flos regalis. Hearing these two people talk about how moved they were after hearing our concert, and realizing that we truly touch every person in the audience (to the point that one of them will leave and call a friend and implore her to come) is a pretty special feeling. And, the woman who arrived late bought two CDs after the show!

En route to Anchorage

At my first rehearsal with the guys, I was given a lot of music. Not only did I inherit two binders from our previous tenor, but I was also given music that was being ‘tested’ for its suitability for various upcoming programs. In all, after a couple weeks or organization, sorting, and alphabetizing, our full repertory fills a 4-inch binder. While I wasn’t required to learn all of that music right away, I did do a show one month after joining the group, so I had my work cut out for me. It was difficult on many levels. I was coming into a group that had been together, for the most part, for 5 years. We have a ‘core’ repertoire that was well-known to the other three guys but was new to me. There were phrasing and dynamic markings to consider, along with part assignments and transpositions. In addition to all of the musical challenges I was facing, I was also now the only tenor in a very small group, trying to gauge the interpersonal relationships and democratic structures of the group and how I fit into it. Thanks to the support and helpfulness of the guys, I was quickly able to get on my feet…though I did trip a few times!

One of the big highlights of my first year is the trip we took to London in the spring of 2012. We were invited to perform at Cadogan Hall, and we were in London for 4 days. (View the Facebook gallery of our London trip HERE.) I had only been to London once before, as a graduate student, and being there as a professional singer, with my new quartet, was a huge thrill. On the morning of our arrival, after a long overnight flight, we went immediately to the BBC studios for a live radio interview. We sang a few pieces (which went surprisingly well, considering!) and chatted with the host about our group and about the concert. We found out later that a large number of people in the audience came to our concert as a result of hearing us on the radio. On the night before we left, we finished our visit to London with a pub crawl, organized by Chris’s aunt and uncle who live in London.

I’m typing this from the plane as we fly from Juneau to Anchorage for the second of three shows we’re doing in Alaska on this 2 week fall 2012 tour. (The photo included in the post was taken (by me!) out of the plane window en route to Anchorage.) Being able to make beautiful music with my friends, and get paid for the privilege, is something I’ll never take for granted. Thanks for your interest in us, and please check back here soon for a new blog entry by one of the guys!


— Steven