I Have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope comes on the day where a mentor and friend has died.
I Have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope is the final song in the Ralph Vaughn Williams song cycle “Songs of Travel”. This song was the last piece I worked with my last voice teacher Dr. David Benz. Today, on his 60th birthday, David passed away. This song, and the whole cycle, was my next big project, along with working up the “House of Life” by the same composer.
David was a quiet man and a wonderful Lyric-Baritone. At the time I met him, my voice was in no way near where it is today. David took this tense Tenor that wanted to sing and turned him into the singer I am today. His death has hit me hard as he was a mentor and a friend. Teacher and student develop a bond throughout the learning process. The teacher is there, as David was, when mistakes are made and the student feels vulnerable and like a failure, which I did on many occasions. A good teacher, to which he was, will encourage and life the student past those low points. For me, singing is a much more intimate experience as the body becomes the instrument, so when the voice fails, you feel it down to your soul. David was there through all of it and it’s only fitting that I sing the last song in this wonderful song cycle,..the last song I worked with my voice teacher, my mentor, my friend. The poem is quite fitting as well.
Only 29 days left…
I have trod the upward and the downward slope;
I have endured and done in days before;
I have longed for all, and bid farewell to hope;
And I have lived and loved, and closed the door.
You can follow / catch up, make song requests and help support this odyssey at the links above. I will keep this GoFundMe cause open throughout the year and close it out once this is over and present the check to the shelter where it will help a lot of critters. Check out the critters at http://greenhillsanimalshelter.org.