Today is bittersweet, as our Andrew prepares to leave tonight for London and his graduate studies at conservatory. Over the past month, we’ve been savoring both his presence and his music.
When we were in California in August, we had the chance to attend the final concert in San Francisco’s 2018 American Bach Soloists’ Summer Bach Festival, the stirring Mass in B Minor. Andrew joined three other musicians for the Benedictus. This tenor aria comes near the end of the mass, and Andrew’s beautiful singing was supported by just a flute, cello, and double bass.
Then just this past weekend, Andrew had a call to sing the state funeral for U.S. Senator John McCain at the Washington National Cathedral. He had turned in his badge and music at the cathedral, where he most recently was one of the tenors in the men’s choir. But his replacement had not arrived from out-of-town so Andrew had the chance to sing his third state funeral (Reagan and Ford, while a boy chorister, were the others) to go along with a variety of Inauguration and memorial services through the years.
The cathedral has been such a part of all our lives since Andrew began there as a novice chorister in the 3rd grade. Andrew has sung solos there as a treble (Chichester Psalms and national Christmas Eve broadcast, to name a couple) and as an adult tenor. He’s heard—and been moved by—the words of everyone from the Dalai Lama to the Rev. William Barber over the years. We’ve all been touched by the musicianship that Canon Michael McCarthy has brought to the cathedral during Andrew’s time on the close.
For the past year, Andrew has been thinking about how to take that formative experience with him…and he chose a tattoo. Now, I’m not a tattoo type of person, but the elegance of the stone tracery of the rose window which is now a permanent part of his left arm, along with the very moving rationale he posted on Facebook for his decision, made it all seem right.
Of course, Andrew is not only immersed in classical and sacred classical music. He listens to just about anything and shares some of his favorites with me. We both subscribe to the Duke Ellington theory of the types of music: good and bad.
We’ll miss having Andrew at home. He’s been such a joy to have here as he has worked through the decision to go to conservatory for a masters of vocal performance and built up the experience and contacts to make that possible. We’re fond of saying that Andrew is “good company.” We know we’ll see him soon (home for the holidays in December, and then perhaps with a late winter/early spring trip to the U.K. for us). However, the house will be a little quieter (if neater) and the dinner conversations will be a tad less lively without him around. And yes, we’ll have to finally break down and buy that step stool to reach the upper shelves in the kitchen, as we’ll miss that 6’2″ height!
Take care, Andrew, and sing well.
More to come…