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PDH Breaks His Silence!

Hello wonderful DCS humans,

I’m writing from Eastern Europe where I will be until early next week before returning to wrap up all the pomp and circumstance of the end to the school year. Once I’m back on the ground Stateside, I suspect you’ll be barraged with information regarding the upcoming rehearsal weekend and the subsequent tour.

Suffice it to say, this has been one of the most challenging years of my entire teaching career. I suspect that most of you know to one degree or another that I’ve been the subject of an ongoing investigation regarding various allegations somehow entangled with our (Carol and my) naturist doings. As per instructions from the university and my attorney, I’ve been incredibly discreet about all this, but as this process is clearly going to stretch into the next academic year – well beyond our trip to New Zealand – I feel you all deserve an explanation as to why I’ve not been on top of this project as I would have liked. The time commitment to legal processes and related activities has nearly constituted a full-time job in itself, made even more difficult by the mandate that I’m not allowed to speak with my typical candor to my students.

For our collective purposes, I don’t see this situation having any direct impact on the New Zealand project other than my inability to keep all the plates spinning this spring. I am very much looking forward to the reunion events in Napa, and the incredible musical experiences that await us in New Zealand.

All that said, there are a few things that you should know.


I know a lot of people are freaking out about memorization for the May/June weekend.

Let’s be real about this… The Spiritual set MUST be memorized by the Sunday evening concert (NEW TIME: 6:30 pm) if we’re going to make that set work. I would add to that the Lavoy, the Rütti, and Leonardo as well, as those pieces simply won’t work if you’re not completely out of your scores.

ALL FOUR COMPETITION PROGRAMS WILL NEED TO BE MEMORIZED BY THE TIME YOU GET TO NAPA! I am striving to do the same, despite my aging neuropaths that are resistant to such.


I am also aware that this process has been panic inducing to many as you’re all juggling myriad demands of your own professional/personal activities.

Here’s the bottom line. I am prepared to dedicate some time to sectionals in our upcoming weekend, but those will be a waste of valuable time if you’re still fishing for pitches and rhythms. Those sectionals should about finding unity in each section in terms of timbre, articulation, and all the rest. Please work with your section leaders so THEY know that you are prepared to function at that level by May 31. All they want to know is that you’ve done the work before you get there.


After much deliberation, Arreon and I changed up the spiritual set. I’m not sure if that’s been posted to the repertoire page yet, but I’m asking with this post that Sarah and Amy go to work on that ASAP. “My God is a Rock” is coming out, and a couple other pieces are being put in, but “My God” will be part of our exhibition concert. (See below)


Though we’ve sort of morphed into quasi-assigned solos in previous rehearsals, we will conduct a formal process for ALL solos during the next weekend, including understudies. Details about that will follow.


We need to voice and seat each section, though I’ve been reluctant to do that since we’ve had a good number of singers missing at each rehearsal. I’m not willing to use that valuable time until the entire choir is in the same room, which may not happen until Napa. We’ll see.

When I have full control over the booking of a tour I am quite adamant about room and bed configurations, realizing that some people are STRONGLY adverse to sharing a double bed with another human. We have made these conditions (as stated on your original application) ABUNDANTLY CLEAR to both our homestay hosts in Napa as well as the tour company that has booked our hotel in Auckland.

The good news is that we have been placed in a hotel right in the center of Auckland which is absolutely ideal for both competition events and touring opportunities. The less good news is that in both cases – home stays and hotel rooms – our hosts have been deliciously vague about what the exact bedding situations will be. And especially in Auckland, we won’t know for sure until they hand us the key and you open the door to your room.

From my perspective, we’re doing the “college choir tour” thing and I’m hoping that most people are willing to suck it up if necessary and share a bed with a friend if push comes to shove. But I’m also well aware that simply isn’t a viable option for some. Were we not $30k over budget already I’d simply throw more cash at the project to make sure we can solve that problem, but airfares and ground arrangements have far exceeded the original projections. We’ll spend WELL into next year’s budget simply to make this project happen at all.

  1. That said, WE NEED TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE VERY STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS SITUATION!!! If you’re good with sharing a room but absolutely against sharing a bed, WE NEED TO KNOW THAT. (PLEASE EMAIL AMY ASAP!!!)

2. If you’re not willing to share a room and you’ve not already paid for a single supplement, WE REALLY NEED TO KNOW THAT. (PLEASE EMAIL AMY ASAP!)

3. If you’re willing to accept that we’re working in your best interest but you’ll roll with the punches in the end, WE ARE ALREADY ASSUMING THAT, so you need not inform anybody of anything – except to not freak out if you draw the short straw once we’re out on the road. IF WE DON’T HEAR FROM YOU, WE’RE THINKING – “YOU’RE GOOD!”

If you’re in category 1 or 2, please understand that we may need to negotiate a surcharge to make it right for you. I’m eager to do what I can to subsidize your preferences, but suffice it to say, the well is running pretty dry at this point.


In additions to a concert in San Francisco at a lovely church in Pacific Heights, and a concert at my home church in Napa, we’ve also received a special invitation to perform a 20 minute exhibition performance in Aukland before the festival begins. I believe we will be the sole representative of the USA in that concert. While I pulled “My God is a Rock” from the competition set, it will appear on this concert.

And finally, we have a closing concert in a small village south of Auckland with a local choir there. We’ll sing for each other – then WITH each other. Should be a great closer to the entire project.


As you may know, Carol and I have been immersed in a huge renovation project over the course of the past year. It’s SUPPOSED to wrap up around the end of May, but we’re quite confident that the huge new deck will be complete. We’d like to invite the entire choir out to the house for a BBQ despite the absence of landscaping and hoping all the electricity works by then. We’ll arrange carpools during rehearsal and I’m hopeful that you will all make a point to attend if only in an effort for the entire choir to get to know one another. (And yes, I’m aware there’s another alumni event occurring that evening, but just for the record, mine was on the calendar first! 🙄)


I’ve confirmed our farewell concert on June 2 at St Helena Church at 6:30 pm. (An hour later than originally advertised.) It is ABSOLUTELY open to the public and will be professionally recorded, (and hopefully live-streamed as well) hoping that will produce rehearsal tapes for your use during the month of June. John Frederick Hudson will fly in from London for the weekend to coach his piece and play the other four hands. Should be a blast.


Friday, May 31: 7:00 – 10:00 pm

Saturday June 1: 9:00 am – 11:45 am // LUNCH-SECTIONALS // 2:30 -5:15 pm

Sunday, June 2: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm // LUNCH // 1:30 – 3:30 pm // 5:30 pm call time at St Helena Church.


That’s all I’ve got for now.

So looking forward to so much amazing music with such extraordinary people. Thank you for that.


6 thoughts on “PDH Breaks His Silence!”

  1. This feels like a good place to say may 31st is my 30th birthday and I’m so excited to spend it with you all 🙂

    thanks for the update!

  2. Hey all! Going to send out a memo momentarily, but if you catch this–the dates in the original version of this post were mismatched with days of the week. Our next rehearsal extravaganza is supposed to last from Friday, 5/31, to Sunday, 6/2. Hooray!

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