Author Archives: Michael Kysar

Touched by the Holocaust

Many years ago, after our first year of teaching, my wife and I spent the summer camping around Europe. We had picked up a rental car and a tent in Paris and drove to Florence, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Salzburg, Copenhagen, … Continue reading

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The Three Baritones at Resonance

My voice teacher for many years, Phyllis Peterson, a mezzo with many Carmen performances under her belt, often said that in spite of the tenor usually being the romantic lead in operas, she always preferred to go home with the baritone. … Continue reading

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Don’t You Love the Disasters?

Yes, disasters are funny, at least most of them, and often only in hindsight. Here are several disasters, beginning with a really big one. Our wedding! Yakima, WA – 12/19/1964 – Temperature: 14 degrees F. Snowfall that day was about … Continue reading

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Christmas at Grandmother’s Farm

Grandmother was a sweet little lady with polite and elegant language — sometimes. She could also swear like a sailor, and since this story is true, the language might be too colorful for some readers. I squished my way up … Continue reading

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This Messiah Was a Kick!

In the beginning was dance. Millions of years ago, when our ancestors first felt the need to communicate, I believe they did it through dance. Over millennia, they added chanting, then singing, then melodic instruments were used as a metaphor … Continue reading

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An Outlaw Visits the Ranch

She stood on the edge of a Montana butte with her horse at her side. From there, the teenager could see the colors of the far off sunset just beginning to sweep across what had to be the biggest sky in the world. This butte … Continue reading

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Ptomaine Joe’s Invitation

My grandmother, Jessie Barrere, (that’s her on top of the piano) bought a little one-room bar with a bunch of land in the southern Bitterroot Valley, near Darby, Montana. It was about 1945, and she named it “Ptomaine Joe’s Bar.” Over the next two … Continue reading

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My Love Affair With France

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to America in 1886. My first concert tour with The Boeing Employees Choir was 100 years later, in 1986. At the invitation of the Seattle Sister City of Nantes, we met the … Continue reading

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Ptomaine Joe Vanished on Halloween

The legend of Ptomaine Joe was still alive in 2008. We learned that when we asked about her at the museum in Hamilton, Montana. Whenever I said she was my grandmother, the response was always, “Really?!” They told us her lodge was still … Continue reading

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Musical Theatre and the Common Gestalt

Many a stage actor and singer is told that there is a little old man who loves this show but can only afford a seat on the very back row of the theatre, so project your voice all the way to him. In … Continue reading

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