Life is full of learning experiences. One of the best is to be part of a team. The skills that you acquire – to listen, to collaborate, to empathize, to follow, to lead, to check your ego – are invaluable. Whether at work or play, if you ever have the chance to join in with others, take it.

The Lake of the Woods Madrigal Singers

In my senior year of high school, a group of my friends and I formed a quartet called “The Madrigal Singers”. Our group had great adventures and loads of fun as we performed all over Northwestern Ontario. And we remain long-distance friends. Two of the group, Lenard Whiting and Melody Jacobson Krever, have made music a career. That’s us on the right when we were about 18 years of age.

The Madrigal Singers at McLeod Park in the City of Kenora. From left to right: Leonard Whiting, Beverly Wager, Heather LaBelle (accompanist), Melody Jacobson Krever and Mark Winkler.

University of Michigan Madrigal Quartet

This group was formed in my senior year at the University of Michigan. And, just like my high school group, two of the members stayed in music. Thomas A. Gregg is a professor of voice at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. And Carol Sahakian McAndrew is a choral director in Michigan. A recording has recently surfaced of our singing a concert in Ann Arbor Michigan. You can listen to some samples of that recital below.

Tenor, Peter Riberi at the tender age of 20.

A Duet from the Past

This duet performance from 1981 is very special to me. I was 21 and was singing with tenor Peter Riberi who, at only 20, already sounded like Mario Lanza. Peter became a successful operatic tenor who sang numerous times at the Metropolitan Opera and was also featured on many Met broadcasts in the 90’s. It was pure joy to sing with him.

This baritone and tenor duet is from the operetta “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”  As you may know, in opera the general rule is that the tenor is the one who always shines in front. And the baritone supports whatever the tenor is doing. This short recording confirms that theory.

To give you an example of why I love opera, you need to look no further than the 0:52 mark of this duet. I get chills down my spine during moments like this.