Friday, December 19, 2008

Glenn, Then and Now

Well, I've certainly had tenors on the brain lately. It's the time of year, I think. I listen to a lot of classical Christmas music that reminds me of my high school choir days, and those days always remind me of how much music had to do with my romantic life. (Some things never change, obviously. My Jason Danieley thing should not have surprised anyone who knows me.)

Well, I recently happened to catch on the radio Vaughn William's Fantasia on Christmas Carols. When I was a senior in high school, my choir performed this beautiful piece at our Christmas concert, and the solo part was taken by my classmate Glenn Siebert. To this day I can still play in my head his voice singing it. This boy's voice was heaven. When Josh Groban hit the scene, I immediately noticed how similar his voice was to Glenn Siebert's.

Going through three years in vocal music with Glenn around was no small treat, believe me. I got to see him as Tony in "West Side Story," as Curly in "Oklahoma!" and I actually shared the stage with him (in the chorus) as Prince Karl Franz in "The Student Prince." My head will also still play his voice singing "Deep in My Heart, Dear." Sigh...

Reading this, you may have figured I had a mad crush on this guy back in the day. Well, I didn't. I was just not the self-flagellating type. Glenn was a prom court kind of guy, staggeringly cute (70's style, which still works for me), and clearly with that voice and decent acting skills was a total chick magnet. I was not in his league. I did not allow myself one daydream about this guy, knowing that could clearly only end in tears.

So here he is, in a promo shot for "The Student Prince," in 1974:

Nevertheless, all my life Glenn Siebert defined tenors for me, which is undoubtedly why no guys on the Sirius XM Broadway Channel thrilled me until Jason came along. I was just too spoiled in high school. And I'm sure having a guy like that in the neighborhood only helped foster my conviction that being a talented tenor is just one of the most romantic, sexy things a man can do.

So what became of Glenn Siebert? Well, here he is today:

See, I wasn't making this up or exaggerating! Just read his bio and have your mind blown. He's sung solos with pretty much every orchestra in the country (the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Pops et al.), and performed the lead in dozens of operas in the U.S. and overseas. He also teaches at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, and is director of the Magnolia Baroque Festival. He's not a household word like Pavarotti, but it's pretty clear to me he's among America's most talented operatic tenors. If you'd like to hear him sing, go HERE for samples (I'd recommend the third track there).

It does my heart good--yes, that heart which didn't dare fall for Glenn back in my high school days--that to this day that voice is being enjoyed by thousands of people. Seems like a very, very happy ending to a little "love story" that never took place.

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