New York and other life-changing places
Miles, Adele and Myself outside the Beacon Theatre
I find it so fitting that I’m writing to you all now. December 9th marks the anniversary of my return to Canada. When I arrived I had no idea what would happen. Indeed I thought I would be returning to the Netherlands. My plans were pushed off course and I ended up spending 5 intense weeks in Austria instead.
I returned in late August to renovations in the home and preparations to join the substitute teacher roster in Edmonton. I could write a separate book on my experiences subbing but let me say that it has been a great balance between teaching and singing.
In early November I set off on a trip I named “the change my life tour.” First stop: New York. I was fortunate to be able to stay with my delightful aunt in Queens. I missed the storm but caught the elections! This trip has a Schubert institute connection. Meeting real New Yorkers in Austria gave me the courage to finally chase by dreams in this infamous city. I had a blast: the subway is a place where anything can happen. I witnessed vendors, preachers and performers on the train. These events began as spontaneously as they ended. It’s truly hard to say what a regular day in New York looks like. Is it taking a tour of Julliard with friends Miles and Dimitri? What about having a voice lesson with Cynthia Hoffman at the Manhattan School of music or attending a Gerald Finley masterclass? I went to see Un Ballo in Maschera at the MET plus caught a performance of the So you think you can dance tour with friend Adele!
What’s curious is that although New York is as epic as all the movies and TV shows, it was a very lonely place. Singers have to work 3 part time jobs just to be able to afford life there… yikes!
My next stop was Ann Arbor Michigan to visit with my friend Jean Bernard. This studious Baritone is finishing up his doctorate at the University of Michigan. The beauty of the campus and the warmth of the people there had me briefly considering a Master’s in vocal performance. This place was utopian and I would love to return someday.
How could I travel out east without stopping in my beloved Montreal? Michael McMahon I love you! What an amazing coach with so much insight. I also caught up with old friends and made sure to hit up some favorite restaurants.
I was so happy to meet Claire during my brief stay in Toronto. At 16 months this beautiful girl is so intelligent and gifted. I’m certain she’ll be a soprano and her father, baritone Stephen Hegedus agrees.
My final stop was Winnipeg! This was a time of much needed catching up with surrogate family and words of encouragement from the people who were there at the beginning of my musical journey. The absolute highlight was to see Tracy Dahl sing Gilda in Manitoba Opera’s Rigoletto. Tracy had the audience in tears in her heartfelt portrayal. I am constantly reminded of her monumental talent. I feel so blessed to have her as a mentor/ teacher.
Thank you as always for reading. Next month I’m off to Spokane and Maryland so stay tuned to hear about it.