RIP, Reynaldo Reyes

My husband’s piano teacher at Towson University passed away last night. I only met Reynaldo Reyes a handful of times – a few years ago when we came to visit Baltimore and stopped in at his office and Bill introduced me to him, 2 years ago at a recital given by his piano trio, and a little less than a year ago, at his retirement recital and celebration. His musicianship was stellar – I did not have the opportunity to hear him at the peak of his performing career, but the strength and intensity of his playing in the two performances I did see were extremely impressive.  At last year’s event, I was struck by the glowing accolades given by his former students and colleagues of his pedagogical brilliance. I wish I had blogged while the insights from that event were still fresh in my mind. I might have journaled them somewhere, but I don’t use paper journals anymore. (My journal app has a password and no one has it but me, so if I die suddenly, no one will read any of my secrets or whatever vitriol I may have directed on any particular day.) If I find my notes or suddenly have a vivid recollection of what impressed me the most that day, it will be fodder for another blog entry.

I don’t want to make this about ME and say, “I hope my students will speak like that about me when I’m done teaching,” because I wrote an obituary about Alfredo Kraus once for Classical Singer magazine, and a very self-indulgent and famous mezzo I contacted to ask for her insights said pretty much that and it struck me as “It’s not about YOU, lady!” But at the same time, I do hope that I can have even half the impact on my students, personally and professionally, that Reynaldo Reyes had on his students, from my husband and his peers to his most recent charges, including Will Zellhoffer, who will begin his collegiate collaborative piano studies in the fall at Goucher. (Hopefully Will will be my studio pianist in the future – I’m kind of grooming him to be the Baltimore equivalent of Ryan Cappleman.)

My husband hasn’t talked much about his feelings since he got the message that Professor Reyes had passed away last night. He did get to visit him in hospice the day before, so he was able to say goodbye to him. I know that Reynaldo Reyes was a significant influence in his life and many other lives and that he will be missed.

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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