MAB rehearses with the men of the District I Honors Choir at Seton Hill
What a joyful day at Seton Hill University. I had the distinct honor of conducting the District I Men’s Honors Choir this afternoon. These young men rose to the occasion and sang with their hearts, minds, and spirits – not just their voices. What a blessing it is to work in the arts. What a blessing it is to make music together that moves an audience.
Now – on to tomorrow! In my new post as Director of Choral Activities at Seton Hill – the choirs and I will offer our first concert together – To Write Love on Our Hearts. I can’t wait!
I am in the midst of research for my first libretto. The subject is Queen Katherine of Aragon, the daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile (yes, the monarchs associated with Columbus) and first wife of Henry VIII, King of England and Ireland. She is a fascinating person, consumed by her faith and a true love for her husband. Henry had doubts as to the validity of their marriage due to that fact that Katherine was his older brother’s widow. The marriage required special dispensation from Pope Julius II.
Marriages betwixt the widows and widowers of nobles was not new, not even to Katherine’s family. Her older sister, Isabella, married Prince Afonso of Portugal, who died shortly after his birth. Isabella, after a period of mourning, married Afonso’s younger brother, Manuel. When Isabella died, Manuel married Isabella’s younger sister, Maria. Crazy, huh?
The opera will be three acts with a prologue and epilogue. Peter de Mets, my writing partner and dear friend, is the composer and we are very excited about the project. A recit and aria pair has already started to develop – the Five Flowers aria, in which Katherine laments her 5 deceased children, each one compared to a flower.
More as the project moves forward!
Tomorrow, Jane and I will travel to New Jersey for the wedding of Stephen Markowski and Kristin Conrad. These two wonderful people served as two of my assistant conductors while at Rutgers. Each semester, I would select one or two undergrads and give them the opportunity to rehearse University Choir and conduct a piece in concert. The best way to grow as a conductor is to actually stand in front of a choir and do it! I hope it was a positive experience for these students – I know it was a positive experience for University Choir. They treated their student colleagues with such grace and respect. Having student assistants allowed us to have simultaneous men and women sectionals and get lots done in a short amount of time. I continued this tradition at Millersville and will do the same at Seton Hill.
To attend a wedding of friends and former students is a special thing; Steve and Kristin are both out in the world teaching. I couldn’t possibly be prouder of them. As a plus – I get to sing in a small men’s chorus – Steve’s arrangement of The Wedding Song.
Want to see the proposal? Steve enlisted Kristin’s students to help him pop the question…
Greetings! Welcome to the web presence of Mark A. Boyle – Conductor, Tenor, Composer, and Poet! Stay tuned for a complete redesign!
Mark is the newly appointed Director of Choral Activities at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA.