My Daughter’s Debut as Principessa in Suor Angelica Tonight

In just a few hours I’ll be boarding a plane to the Pacific Northwest so I can visit my daughter and see her debut performance as Principessa in Suor Angelica for the Lyric Opera of the Northwest. This will be the second time this year I have seen this opera. Earlier this year, in May, Rachelle appeared at the Mistress of Novices for the St. Petersburg Opera.

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Queen City Musicians: Support Rachelle Moss

Reposting this in a non-Facebook location for friends and family who do not have Facebook accounts.  For those of you new to my blog, Rachelle is my daughter.

Queen City MusiciansRachelle Moss, Mezzo-Contralto

Become a Musicians Friend by supporting one of our musicians for our January performance.


SUPPORT RACHELLE at this link:

Rachelle Moss is an American mezzo-contralto. She has been praised for her warm and sultry timbre.She performed the Alto Solo for Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the KCKCC Honorworks Choir. Rachelle received a Bachelor’s in Music History and Master’s in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas.

During the summer of 2013 Rachelle worked with Spotlight on Opera in Austin, Texas. She portrayed Madame Larina (Eugene Onegin) and Gertrude (Romeo et Juliette) in scenes programs, and covered both Mama McCourt (The Ballad of Baby Doe) and Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia). Immediately following her return to North Texas, Ms. Moss sang the part of Maddalena in the Rigoletto Quartet for Verdi’s 200th Birthday at the University of North Texas.

Rachelle Moss now resides in Gig Harbor, Wa.

To read more about Rachelle:

*6 days of rehearsal as chorus, two performances.

Duck Season

First Wednesday rolled around again, faster than it seemed possible.  I drove back to the plaza after work, barely stopping long enough to grab a quick bite to eat.  I arrived with a half-hour to spare, waiting on my long-time friend, Marge, and her husband, Bill.  I stayed in the lobby of Unity Temple until about ten minutes to seven, hoping to catch them as they arrived.  I gave up and grabbed some seats about midway down the aisle.  Marge and Bill arrived with just a couple minutes to spare.

The evening’s program featured the rich, velvet vocals of Lester “Duck” Warner, performing with Tim Whitmer & The Consort Band of Spirituality and All That Jazz.

Lester Warner, affectionately known as “Duck,” is a quiet, soft-spoken man who transforms himself into a spectacular entertainer when he takes the stage. His voice is a rich baritone with a beautiful full falsetto that has been compared to Nat “King” Cole. He is also a gifted instrumentalist who plays trumpet, flugelhorn and trombone. Duck has headlined Japan’s first International Jazz Festival, Kansas City’s Spirit Festival, and The Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival. He was voted Kansas City’s Best Male Vocalist three years in a row. The International Trumpet Guild has recognized duck as a veteran of the revered “old school” associated with the special brand of Kansas City “Swing” music. Benny Powell, trombonist with the Count Basie Band, calls Duck a “premiere entertainer.”

Tim and the usual suspects took the stage and played a short set of jazz standard instrumentals.

  • Autumn Leaves
  • Cute … County Basey tune
  • They’ll Never Be Another You

After those three songs, Tim introduced Duck Warner and the concert proceeded with only a couple of restarts.

  • I’m in Love
  • Witchcraft
  • Georgia
  • Almost Like Being in Love
  • Everyday I Have the Blues
  • My Romance
  • Route 66
  • L-O-V-E

After the last song, I finally had a chance to snatch a few minutes of conversation with Marge as we walked to the parking garage. We said our goodbyes and I hit the road for the return trip home (second time, no sunglasses necessary). I made it home by ten after nine o’clock and had trouble finding a place to park. Band practice was still going strong in the band room.

I uploaded the videos I took and went to bed and attempted to sleep, band practice not withstanding.

Tim Whitmer piano interlude:


Everyday I Have the Blues:


The Way You Look Tonight:




Next month, on the first Wednesday, the day after my birthday, the featured vocalist is Diane ‘Mama’ Ray at Spirituality and All That Jazz.  Come on down to the Plaza, sit a spell and savor some cool evening jazz.  The best seven bucks you’ll ever spend.

Five Thousand Eight Hundred Forty-Four

Days … but who’s counting?  Apparently, I am.

Yesterday was my 16th anniversary with my employer.  Oddly enough, I had completely forgotten about the anniversary until my boss entered my cubicle, late in the afternoon on Wednesday, August 1st, and presented me with a card and token gift.  Very strange indeed, since I hadn’t seen him in probably ten days and he usually misplaces or forgets things like anniversaries and birthdays.

But the real highlight of my day came when I met an old friend and her husband for dinner and a jazz concert.  I’ve known her just as long as I’ve been employed, although she up and retired earlier this year.  We still get together, usually once a month for this first Wednesday concert, called Spirituality and All That Jazz, but sometimes for lunch as well.  Last’s night’s theme was:

The Sensational Swingin’ Saxes
A Night of Exceptional Sax Educators Cutting Loose
performing with Tim Whitmer & The Consort Band

Dueling Saxophones
Todd Wilkinson and Jim Mair (click image for rest of album)

I surprised myself by leaving the camera bag in the car.  Serendipitous in that I could then attempt to take some better photos than I could have managed with my cell phone camera.  The lighting at Unity Temple isn’t the best, so I changed the ISO to 800, and eventually 1600, but most of the photos I took were very blurry.  I took a few from up front and those turned out better.

The group played mostly jazz standards, including Duke Ellington’s ‘Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” (in honor of the Royals); “Stella by Starlight”; a Harry Allen chart called “Jake’s Lament”; a Charlie Parker chart called “My Little Suede Shoes”; “Body and Soul”; “The Preacher”; and they closed out the concert with some blues … “Blues Up and Down.”  I missed some of the song titles because I couldn’t always understand Tim or Todd (less gain on the microphone and/or better diction please).  The second song I recognized, and could almost hear the words being sung in my head, but for the life of me I don’t have any idea what the name of it might have been.

The concert wrapped up shortly after 8:30 p.m.  I said my goodbyes to my friends and hit the road home.  The sun had already set and the full moon (well, three hours short of being a full moon) had risen behind me.

I had a great time, catching up with friends and enjoying some amazing saxy jazz or jazzy saxes … take your pick.

A Fiery End to an Extremely Hot Day

Sunset Saturday 14 July 2012
Sunset Saturday 14 July 2012 (click image for rest of album)

I can blame nobody but myself.  I gave up the opportunity to sit in an air conditioned smoke-free bar (Woody’s Watering Hole in Leavenworth), where I could have listened to my husband and his band buddies perform classic rock to support A Ride for the Wounded.  I could have supported a worthy cause through my presence and donations and had a great time with old friends.

But no, I thought I would have a better time with my co-workers at our firm’s summer event, where the beer, barbecue and baseball were all free.  And so was the scorching heat and unrelenting sunshine beating down on us on the unshaded Bud Light Party Deck in right field at the T-Bones stadium.

Sizzle greets Toni and Tracey
Sizzling on the Bud Light Party Deck

Since I don’t drink beer, I walked back down along the concourse to purchase a very tall and cold glass of lemonade. The bottle of water I’d gotten on the Party Deck with one of my two free drink tickets had been warm. I hung out with coworkers, many of them people I see everyday, Monday through Friday, in our small corner of the universe called IT. I ended up giving my other drink ticket to my of my female coworkers, but not before attempting to exchange it for something first (like another lemonade?).

I hardly noticed when the game started. The T-Bones played against the Wichita Wingnuts (who used to be known as the Wranglers when I lived there in the 80s and 90s, but that team name has since moved to Arkansas). Staring directly into the sun from right field and unable to clearly see the scoreboard behind my right shoulder, I completely missed the Wingnuts scoring a run in the second inning. I did notice multiple rookie errors on the part of the T-bones. The only scoring for the home team came with two home-runs (with no one on base). I gave myself a headache staring into the sun for nearly an hour, when it finally hid itself behind a thin cloud bank approaching from the northwest.

With no comfortable seating available on the Party Deck (and because I’d opted to take a ‘left over’ ticket for the firm’s summer event), I decided enough was enough and left the park during the bottom of the fifth inning. Five innings, two runs and five errors on the part of the T-bones.  The Wingnuts had no errors and two runs.  I could see where this game was heading.  As I walked to the van, I could tell the sunset was shaping up to be a fiery one (click first photo above for entire album).

After taking a few photos from West Mary Street, I returned home to discover the bass player’s car parked where I usually park the van. I thought that was odd, since it wasn’t even nine o’clock yet. I found Terry and Sean in the nearly empty band room, eating a late supper and reporting that the gig went extremely well. This perturbed me to no end. Since my home hosts most band practices for this group, I get exposed to the best and the worst of the amplified rock music. So I had a somewhat jaundiced view of this latest collection of musicians’ ability to pull it together.  Who knows, if I had attended, I probably would have jinxed the performance.  But it still would have been nice to sit in a cool air conditioned bar and drank something other than beer (or lemonade … unless it was Hard Lemonade) and listen to my husband sing Cumbersome (which he’s not).

Terry singing (and playing) Cumbersome (Sat 14 July 2012)

Veggie Bliss with a Side of Jazzy Friends

I whirled through Wednesday like the gusty winds whipping through the Midwest the past few days.  The minute I dropped off my last rider, I rushed home, ran in the house, snatched some cash from Terry, switched van keys for car keys and flew back to the Plaza (where I had just spent eight or nine hours working).  I spent less than five minutes in the house, only having time to pet Roxy and Apollo once each and peck Terry on the cheek (as I fleeced him out of a twenty dollar bill).

When Marge retired in late January, we agreed to reconnect on the first Wednesday of March.  We met at the Eden Alley Cafe in the basement of the Unity Temple on the Plaza for dinner, immediately followed by the monthly ‘Spirituality and All That Jazz‘ concert hosted by Tim Whitmer.  I touched base with Marge late on Tuesday to confirm and agreed to meet at a quarter to six.  I should have said I’d be there by six, not before, as I barely made it back from Lansing in thirty minutes (a record for me actually).

Veggie Burger (vegan) made with carrots, celery, yellow onions, tofu, vegetable oil, soy sauce and bread crumbs, served atop a locally made whole wheat bun with dijon mustard, spicy vegan aioli, dill pickles, red onions, greens and a tomato.

We were seated almost immediately.  I had to spend some time reviewing the menu, since it had been over two years (probably close to three years) since I’d last been to Eden Alley.  I decided to try their veggie burger and for once I did NOT ask for anything to be left off (since cheese was not automatically part of the dish) with a side of Garlic Bread.  Marge and Bill ordered the same dish, the Spinach and Mushroom Meatloaf.  We snacked on various types of freshly baked breads, all of which tasted fabulous.  Our food arrived quite quickly and I devoured the delicious veggie burger, but decided not to finish the garlic bread.  I’ve had that side before and I should have remembered that I don’t care for the aoili.  None of us had room for dessert so we paid our tabs, tipped the waitor and headed upstairs for the concert.

We soon learned that the scheduled special guest for the evening, vocalist Monique Danielle, would not be performing.  Tim did not enlighten us until after the first set who had agreed to step in at the absolute last minute as a replacement.

The ‘usual suspects’ appeared on stage a few minutes past seven o’clock –  Tim Whitmer at the piano, bassist James Albright, percussionist Jurgen Welge and saxophonist and flutist Jim Mair.

Spirituality and All That Jazz
Tim Whitmer at the piano, James Albright on bass, Jurgin Welge on drums and Jim Mair on sax and flute.

First set:

I heard some incredibly stunning soprano sax solos by Jim Mair during that first set.  Just mind boggling.

During the brief pause between sets, Tim let the cat out of the bag with respect to Monique’s illness.  He got quite a few laughs when he started soliciting the audience for vocal volunteers.  After a few minutes, one woman came forward, answering the jazz altar call and blessed us with her voice – the incomparable Millie Edwards.

Millie Edwards
Millie Edwards

Second set (with very special guest Millie Edwards):

I love listening to Millie sing.  And, surprising to me anyway, her vocal range matches my own voice almost perfectly.  I had to really resist the urge to start singing along with her, since I so rarely get the chance to sing in that range (I am no soprano and never want to be one).  Her last two songs were just plain fun.

Between songs, Millie shared with us the story of how Tim wrangled her into performing last night.  That afternoon she had received an e-mail from Tim with the subject ‘Favor’ and soon discovered the nature of the favor Tim asked of her.  Her students became the real beneficiaries as she had to postpone grading papers and a pop-quiz the next day.  Millie imparted to Tim the heartfelt gratitude of her students for sparing them from the test gauntlet, at least for a day.

After the concert, I said goodbye to Marge and Bill and headed back home (for the second time in that day).  I flipped through my radio presets and caught the last song of the classic music program on KANU – one I actually recognized – a piano arrangement of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition.’  As I exited I-70 and headed north on K-7/US-73, I caught the beginning of Piano Jazz on KPR.

I attempted to call my daughter but as usually happens, I got her voice-mail.  So for the second time that day, I called her boyfriend, Nic, who promptly answered his phone (as he always does).  We exchanged pleasantries and I asked if he happened to be near my daughter.  Unfortunately, she was at a rehearsal (which explained why she didn’t answer her phone).  Nic realized Rachelle had forgotten to tell me she finally got a church gig.  She is now an Alto II section lead in the Chancel Choir at First UMC of Plano.  I think I need to take an extra trip to North Texas next month for Easter services.

I had a great time catching up with Marge (and Bill) and listening to lovely live jazz music in a relaxed and smoke-free environment.  Marge and I agreed to return for the May concert which features the KCKCC jazz ensembles (of which my daughter is an alum).  I look forward to seeing how the jazz program at KCKCC has progressed in the three years since Rachelle graduated.

Experience Handel’s Theodora

Handel’s Theodora

Graeme Jenkins, guest conductor

Ava Pine, Theodora; Ryland Angel, Didymus; Richard Croft, Septimius; Jeffrey Snider, Valens; Jennifer Lane, Irene

UNT Baroque Orchestra–Paul Leenhouts, director

Collegium Singers–Richard Sparks, director

A Cappella Choir–Jerry McCoy, director

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Central

Watch live online at

My daughter, Rachelle Moss, a mezzo soprano, performs as a member of the Collegium Singers.

Theodora is an oratorio concerning the Christian martyr Theodora and her Christian-converted Roman lover, Didymus.  It is a tragedy, ending in the death of the heroine and her converted lover. The music is much more direct than Handel’s earlier works, transcending the mediocrity of the libretto (which was true for several of his works) so that the characters and the drama are well-defined.  Theodora was actually Handel’s favorite of his oratorios. The composer himself ranked the final chorus of Act II, “He saw the lovely youth,” “far beyond” “Hallelujah” in Messiah.

Classic and Southern Rock Rolled Through Local Benefit Concert

Junction Box reunion
Junction Box Reunion

Sean, Terry and I ventured downtown Saturday evening to listen to several local bands perform in a benefit concert at the American Legion hall to help raise funds for Sara WarrenWolfguard‘s lead guitarist, Steve Bequette, had reunited with former band mates to play a couple of sets as the old Junction Box band.  Other local bands included Silas Dogan and Southern Reign.  I must apologize for the blurriness of the two photos I took last night with my cell phone.  If I’d been thinking, I would have brought my good Canon digital camera along to get back shots.

We were fashionably late, arriving just as Junction Box finished setting up their equipment.  We missed hearing the Silas Dogan band, but enjoyed hearing Junction Box cover ‘Takin’ Care of Business’ (BTO), ‘Dreams’ (Molly Hatchett), ‘Gimme Three Steps’ (Lynard Skynard), ‘Three ‘Whiskey in a Bottle’ and other classic and southern rock favorites.

Between sets (Junction Box switched out the percussionist and bassist once each), raffle prizes were drawn.  I had purchased a few tickets when we arrived, but didn’t expect to win anything.  The third ticket drawn happened to be one of the ones I’d purchased, so I retrieved a nice golf or polo shirt sporting ‘Effen Vodka’ on one sleeve.  Being a medium, I handed it to Terry.

Eric nails Stranglehold
Eric Gassen with Southern Reign performing Stranglehold

After Junction Box wrapped up, Southern Reign took the stage again, but not before local guitar legend Eric Gassen (current project the Edge of Forever tribute band) treated us to a song that’s primarily a guitar solo … Nugent’s Stranglehold (also the first song I ever heard Terry play on his Ibanez Artist).  Eric borrowed Steve’s guitar and Line 6 pedal while Southern Reign’s guitarist, bassist and percussionist provided the backup.

Southern Reign closed out the concert with a short set including ‘Can’t You See’ (Marshall Tucker Band), ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey), and ‘I’m the Only One’ (by Leavenworth’s very own Melissa Etheridge).  Terry and I left, waving goodbye to the band, as they performed the last song of the evening ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ (Guns & Roses).

A few minutes later, we were on the road, headed south through Leavenworth and Lansing.  Once back in the house, I removed the present my daughter and her boyfriend gave me for Christmas:  opal earrings.   Opals are my birthstone, since I’m an October baby.

We had a good time listening to some local Leavenworth talent and hopefully helped ease the burden for Sara Warren.