"The Fountain Story"

Can you guys take one more post about SongFest? You're probably tired of hearing about it. Sad, because there's so much I could say besides "blah blah blah it was great blah blah blah I worship Graham Johnson more than ever blah blah blah." Anyway, this is more of a Daniel story than anything else.

Friday night I was scheduled to play in a masterclass taught by Martin Katz. If you're not a singer or pianist, you probably don't know this, but Martin Katz is one of the most famous vocal accompanists/coaches in the United States, if not the Western hemisphere. He's on the faculty at the University of Michigan and travels all over the world performing with well-known singers and teaching masterclasses, and he's really superb at both of these things. He's also infamous for his temper, and has been known to yell at people, storm out of classes, and rumor has it he once threw a chair across the room. Everybody who sings or plays for him knows they must come ├╝ber-prepared; go into a class or coaching with him knowing the piece, knowing every word of translation, knowing about the poet, knowing when it was written and no matter what don't argue or disagree with him. Do all this, and you'll probably be fine.

(I hesitated about writing that above paragraph on a public website, but there's nothing I said that everyone in the professional world of singing doesn't already know.)

That said, there weren't any incidents at SongFest. We were all prepared, Mr. Katz seemed to be in a pretty good mood, so things went smoothly.

For him, anyway. Friday night, as I said, I was scheduled to play on a masterclass. Near the middle of the class, before I had played, I slipped out to make a quick phone call. I saw Joseph and Daniel close by. Joe was talking to some people who had a little girl about Daniel's age, and holding onto Daniel's hand because Daniel was walking along the edge of a fountain. All of a sudden, Daniel lost his balance and fell into the water, which was several inches deep. For about a half second, it was an awful, awful moment, because Daniel went all the way under water. Of course, Joe was right there and pulled Daniel out before he had a chance to try and inhale or even open his mouth. Daniel was fine, but scared and drenched. I scooped him up right away to keep him warm and comfort him.

About this time, the masterclass had a 10-minute break, and everyone wandered outside to stretch their legs and chat. I had to go up to the great, the infamous Martin Katz, wearing my now-soaked sweater, holding my dripping wet son, and ask if I could please play later in the class because my toddler had fallen in the fountain, and I had to change him and change my shirt. Of course, he agreed; he's not an unreasonable man. But I still felt a tad, shall we say, unprofessional at that particular moment in time. I was told later that when the class resumed, Katz announced that due to a certain emergency involving "a wet mom," the songs would be performed in a different order, and the next day everyone wanted to hear "The Fountain Story."

Needless to say, Daniel didn't get a bath that night. We figured that little rinse-off would suffice.


Pam said…
I was going to warn you about Katz... I wasn't sure if you had experienced or heard about him yet, but I think you're right - his reputation is such that everyone knows about him! My friend, Lara, took a class with him while doing her MM at U of M which I sat in on once - I also sat in on a master class with him at NEC while I was there (in which he had a major mood swing while coaching a friend of mine). Anyway, your story is funny! Poor little Daniel! - I'm glad he's ok!! So glad you made it back safely and enjoyed the program!! :-)

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