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Sunny Days

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It's just gorgeous here today, yesterday and tomorrow. That raises the spirits -- but it would be nice to get out and enjoy it.

Today is that excellent competition that I have been on the jury of these last six years or so, the Union League Civic Arts Foundation's scholarships for singers. This is a lucrative opportunity for Chicago-based singers, yielding as it does two Rose M. Grundman Scholarships of $15,000 each in Women's Voice and Men's Voice. It's pretty well first prize or nothing. And these days $15,000 is a very useful bonus. So we will be deciding the result of this between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. this afternoon. And there should also be a photo of my two fellow jurors -- check back later to see who they are!

This morning I had a visit from one of our former Young Artists at COT, Kala Maxym - a very good mezzo with a good brain and an inquiring mind. She and her mother have set up a new Web site called The Opera Insider. You should all sign up for it -- it looks like an interesting addition to the collection and in these days of so much social networking maybe it will turn into a real money spinner for them. An operatic Facebook? Anyway, it's early days but they may have latched onto something different and useful, as well as fun.

This evening we are at the Art Institute for an Owen Wingrave event. This will be a really special opportunity to connect with two people who were close to Britten. It is at 6 p.m. -- try to be there. This will be time well spent.