I am currently in a mental No Man's Land. Due to severe allergies, I had to withdraw from the beautiful Show Boat production in Washington, D.C. I was very, very sad to go, but there was really no other choice. I just couldn't do my best work. On the positive side: I got to go home and spend quality time with my family. In fact, my wonderful wife Tina threw a Cinco de Mayo party for me the night I returned! That was very cool. (And her Margaritas are awesome and that is not a euphemism for something else.) Plus, I was able to be at USC for Juries, and Honors Convocation, and Commencement! And I have been able to meet with most of my students for lessons. But at the same time, I know the performances in DC are going on without me. So I have a strange mixture of feelings: I feel like I'm supposed to be somewhere else, I feel like the hunter coming home with no food for his family, I actually feel guilty for leaving the production (an emotion that our Board Certified Behavior Analyst daughter Erica says is a completely useless), I have a deep sense of loss because I value performing so highly (and money rather highly), I'm happy to be home, and grateful to have time with my students, and I'm preparing for my next project - Don Giovanni in Aix-en-Provence. I'm hoping it will feel like I've moved on when I start rehearsals in Aix.
I am, meanwhile, so proud of my students. Five of them received advanced degrees today. Robin Wyatt-Stone, BM in Vocal Performance; David Castillo, MM in Vocal Performance; Melissa Kaplan MA in Communications; Samantha de Leve, MA in Communications; and Ana Guigui, DMA in Vocal Arts. Attending Commencement today reminded me of the importance of these degrees and just how much work they represent. I feel a huge responsibility as their teacher to make sure they are prepared for their life path after they leave the security of USC, and that they represent USC well as they go out into the greater world. I also remember with great fondness the day our son, Marc, graduated from USC with a BS in Music Industry, and I got to hand him his diploma and shake his hand! That was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.