On Sunday 3 February 2008 my beloved teacher and mentor, Cornelius L. Reid, passed away just short of his 97th birthday.
Of course, one knows that it is inevitable, but in a way, he seemed immortal to me. Afterall, I met him when he 86 - already a ripe age! But in the heart of my heart I think I'd always hoped he would live on forever. I was never able to work with him as much as I wanted to. It was made difficult by the very fact that we lived on different continents. At the beginning though, he came to Frankfurt, where I was living, on a yearly basis, and I made that into an opportunity for intense study. I took several lessons from him myself and listened to his teaching all day, every day for 2 weeks. In addition, I had work in Philadelphia on a yearly basis, which allowed me to travel to NYC for lessons, which I otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford.
Nevertheless, I learned more from this great man (and not just about the voice and music!) than I learned from any one person - save perhaps Robert Fountain at the UW-Madison. His ideas are so unique and yet so sound, I don't know how anyone can doubt the truth of what he re-discovered!
I consider myself blessed for having known him and hope, with all my soul, that I will prove a worthy "disciple" in carrying on in the spirit of his work.
Luckily, I began working with Carol Baggott-Forte, one of Cornelius' long-time students and a fearless teacher of singing herself. She is much younger than Cornelius and very fit and comes to Europe several times a year. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem likely that I'll ever be able to take advantage of proximity and take lessons from her in Canada, but one never knows.
I miss you Cornelius!