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July 2024


Just for a thrill…

I’ve been pondering what I could say to describe just how electrifying the Carnegie Hall experience was, but everything comes out sounding trite. But now that I’m safely back home, you all deserve an update, trite or not, because in every comic-book-and-fairy-tale way, it was utterly awesome.

Singing as a soloist at Carnegie Hall was one of the greatest thrills of my life. Stepping through that door onto the stage and seeing balcony upon balcony filled with people, feeling the applause just wash over me — it took my breath away for a moment. The space, though cavernous and rich with echoes, still felt intimate, as though if I spoke softly from center stage, everyone in the audience would still hear me. In a living, breathing room like that, you can just feel the audience’s enthusiasm climb right up on the stage with you. I immediately picked out a few familiar faces in the crowd, and I was ready to sing for them, and for a couple thousand of my new best friends.

Doing this crazy thing with the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band made it all the more remarkable. Caltech’s music program has already given me so much over the years — but to be invited to join this band as a soloist for this not-even-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was a privilege that is simply unparalleled. (Though if anyone asks, I’m always willing to accept calls from the Nobel Committee!)

The CBS Evening News got pretty excited about our trip, too. They aired a segment focused on the space connection and the Phoenix lander, so I didn’t make the cut, but some friends did!

This was my first trip to New York City and I confess, I loved it. But I also realized that I’m not playing around in my own hometown nearly enough, so I’m back home with a renewed sense of adventure. Hello, Los Angeles! I missed you!

As I got off the plane and headed for the baggage claim, a huge picture of the Hollywood Bowl taunted me. Now there’s some food for thought. And meanwhile, I’ll get back to other rehearsals and back to my robots. Who knows what the future could bring?