What can I say? I love home. It comes in many forms. For me, and certainly for many who spend their lives on the road, home is all about familiarity. The people, the location, the company… This is what makes home for me.
I had the distinct joy of singing in one of my homes, Winston-Salem, NC, this month. It’s home because I lived there for 4 very important years of my life but also because the people here have since become my family.
James Allbritten, Steve LaCosse, Marilyn Taylor, Nancy Goldsmith, Nancy Johnston, Angela Ward…. The list could go on for pages. These people and the folks from UNCSA and Piedmont Opera are my family and I can’t even begin to express the pleasure it was to return here and sing Rigoletto with these folks nearby to help me along the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all.
I first met James and Steve in 2004 in Colorado Springs at the Vocal Arts Symposium and, coincidentally, the very first thing I sang with James conducting and Steve directing was…. Act 3 of Rigoletto. Now 11 years later we reunited to produce the whole show. Martile Rowland even showed up for the first 2 performances! What a surprise to see her again. She is largely responsible for my having attended UNCSA. It’s moments like these and productions like this that remind me of just how far I’ve come, how lucky I’ve been, and how fortunate I am to know people like them and to be a part of opera.
This production was more than just another show… In a lot of ways it was a coming of age. A chance to return to a place I left as an immature, inexperienced, and ungrateful child as an adult (sort of….). Much as changed in the 7 years since I left UNCSA and Winston-Salem. The one thing that remains true… I am still a student and I was ready, finally, to listen.
My month at this home has come to a close and it is one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve had to say in a long time. So many memories here from the past and now the present. Thank you Piedmont Opera for bringing me home for a month a letting me play with the Duke. What an experience!
Now on to San Antonio… Another home where my bed, couch, dogs, and most importantly, family live.
Good bye for now Winston-Salem! I’ll be back as soon as possible… I promise!