The most beautiful sound I heard yesterday was the voice of our dear friend Kris Capel, saying “Hi.”
That’s saying something because yesterday morning, I had the great pleasure of making music with my friend Laura Deming, a cellist in the Chicago Lyric Opera orchestra. I will be accompanying her for a program in September that I think we will call “The Voice of the Cello” and the program will consist entirely of transcriptions of pieces originally intended for singers (the Old American Songs of Copland, some arias by Puccini, etc) and two sets of variations by Beethoven (one on a Magic Flute aria, the other on a chorus from an oratorio by Handel.) We were in her living room in South Milwaukee, and it was so interesting to be making wonderful music together while through the windows seeing the rest of the world whiz by, oblivious to what we were doing. I was also there to pick up my two boxes of LPs from the Cardinal Stritch Record Library (See “Bonnie and Clyde” in my blog archive for the full story) but it was the pleasure of making music with Laura that made that hour and a half so terrific. But no, that wasn’t the most beautiful sound of the day, even though there were some drop-dead gorgeous sounds emanating from her cello.
Yesterday I also had the pleasure of sitting in my studio and hearing the radiant, soaring high B-flat of Sarah Gorke, who came by to work on a couple of arias, including “Divinte du Styx” from Gluck’s “Alceste.” Man, do I know how to pick ‘em! I chose this aria for her and it is so exciting, even at this relatively early date, to hear it sounding so marvelous. But no, that wasn’t the most beautiful sound of the day. Nor was it the sounds made by a young man named Michael who came for his very first voice lesson with me. He has been a stalwart bass/baritone for Polly down at Tremper H.S. and I’ve heard him in a short solo or two over the years- but that did not prepare me for the rich warmth of his voice – one of the finest high school bass-baritone voices I have ever heard. We are going to have some great fun, I’m sure, judging from what I heard yesterday. But no, that was not the most beautiful sound of the day.
Nor was it the pretty-good-if-I-do-say-so-myself high F which I unleashed last night at the Kenosha Pops Band concert at Pennoyer Park. The last piece on the program (before the final march) was an arrangement of “Just the way you look tonight” which fit me like a glove except for the very end, which transposed up a full step into the key of F major. That got to be a bit challenging, but I was in good vocal form last night and really nailed it. But no, that was not the most beautiful sound of the day.
The most beautiful sound of the day was when our dear friend Kris Capel – Pastor Kris Capel – called us to say “hi.” Actually, she also called to say that she and her family. . . Dan, Anneka, and our goddaughter Amelia. . . were all safe. She called to tell us that because they live in the Twin Cities.
Kathy was the only one home when news first aired of the horrifying collapse of the I-35 bridge spanning the Mississippi River between St. Paul and Minneapolis. She was immediately on the phone to the home of our friends Kris Capel and Dan Coyle, but there was no answer – and other frantic calls to other frantic friends yielded no further information. We knew by the simple laws of probability that they were almost certainly fine, but it was terrifying not to know for sure. And as it turns out, Dan drove underneath that very bridge at about 4:00 yesterday afternoon- two hours before it collapsed in a twisted nightmare of destruction and death.
And that’s why, even after a day full of lovely music, the most beautiful sound of the day was Kris saying “hi” at 9:41 p.m.
pictured above: Kris with daughter Amelia (our goddaughter) on the carousel at Navy Pier