Monthly Archives: March 2016

Say Uncle

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Yesterday, I had a sad task of singing for the funeral of my Uncle Ron,  Ron Barbian.    Actually,  "Uncle Ron" wasn't my uncle at all; he was my Cousin Ron.  But he was 28 years older than me,  so for my siblings and me he was always Uncle Ron.   The reason for the

Sweat and Stones

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Of all of the iconic structures one sees in Washington DC, there is something especially unique and striking about the Washington Monument.  Unlike either the Lincoln or Jefferson Monuments, which so closely resemble other structures in the ancient Greek style,  the Washington Monument is far more distinctive.  Nothing else in our nation's capitol looks anything

The Sights

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I saw some memorable things on my most recent trip to Washington DC, and it really underscored for me just how much the city has to offer.  There are the patriotic sites that all Americans should visit (and it's interesting how people from other countries also seem drawn to them) .....  but beyond that are

Names … Faces … and Reflection

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Yesterday is the first time I ever grasped the double meaning of the famous Reflection Pool on the mall of our nation's capitol.  Until yesterday, I only thought of the term in its visual sense-  as that pool in which the image of the Washington Monument is reflected.   But yesterday, as I made my

True Colors

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The 2016 Spring Carthage Choir Tour has been riddled with all kinds of small complications and frustrations-  thanks almost entirely to a bus company that shall remain nameless that has dropped more balls than it has managed to catch. Fortunately, this is an exceptionally mature and centered group of students and they have weathered every

The Call

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It was one year ago today - at about 7:30 in the morning - that my cell phone rang.  It was Sarah Gorke,  a former student/ colleague/ friend ...  and these words are still burned into my memory:  "I have some really bad news about Nick....."   It's so strange how time itself can seem

On the Road Again

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From somewhere in Maryland .... It's Day #2 of the Carthage Choir Spring Tour, and I can't get over what a fun time this has been thus far ....  despite the fact that I went into this trip with more than a few frustrations weighing me down.  There was the matter of leaving Kathy behind-

Brotherly Love

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I love it when life offers up sweet little surprises that give you a little extra reason to smile.  This past Sunday yielded several pleasantries that I really appreciated,  including the pleasure of being back at church and in front of my church choir for the first time since my hospitalization.   After several days

Fragility and Humility

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It began with me lying in the arms of my wife - which normally would be a lovely place to be. Unfortunately,  I was unconscious at the time. It was 5:50 Tuesday morning.  I got into the shower feeling really lousy for the fourth or fifth day in a row- and this was probably my


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Heldentenor.  It's an operatic term that literally means "heroic tenor," and it refers to those massive-voiced tenors who specialize in the challenging operas of Richard Wagner,  which demand singers with large voices and tireless stamina.   Musically speaking,  Roberto Alagna is in no way, shape, or form a heldentenor.  But when it comes to operatic