On a train journey carrying the San Francisco Opera Company cast to Los Angeles, the small child climbed on the lap of the famous singer, Salvatore Baccaloni.
“So, young man,” said the well-known vocalist. “Are you going to be a tenor like your father when you grow up?” The small boy scowled back: “Nobody’s gonna make a tenor outta me!”
Well, somebody did, but it took another 60 years.
As I grew up, I wanted nothing to do with opera or singing. That was my dad’s activity, not mine, and I pursued a career in journalism. Fast forward to age 60, when my daughter sang in Jeffrey Benson's high school chorus at the H.B. Woodlawn Program in Arlington, Va. Wow! I wanted to do that!
If I was getting serious about singing, I thought, I ought to take some voice lessons. At the Selma Levine School in Washington, my teacher, Charles Williams, liked my two-octave range and said,