Despite a shivery, misty day outside, Richland students, faculty and friends basked in the warmth of the luscious notes of baritone and new Richland singing instructor Kyle Siddons on Feb. 11.
In a recital titled "On the Wings of Song," Siddons, attired in a natty gray suit and accompanied by pianist Heeyoung Choi, treated his noontime audience first to three brief lieder (songs) by Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms, all delivered in flawless German.
The first number, "An die Musik" or "To Music," has an intriguing and very pleasant piano pulse. It is the famous celebration of Schubert's exuberance at the very idea of music in general.
The second piece was Schubert's familiar "Serenade," a love song in which the singer exhorts his love to simply come and make him happy. Brahms' equally romantic "Serenade" completed the introductory segment.
Then, after a brief background explanation at the microphone, Siddons and Choi performed a new and longer work called "A Ghost Through the Winding Years."
This was a work recently commissioned to be written by Siddons' friend Dominick DiOrio, who is choral director at Indiana University.
It was an unusual piece comprising 10 sections based on the writings of American poet SaraTeasdale.
As Siddons explained, Teasdale was happily married, but was also enamored by another man.
Like a person on a diet who is sometimes tempted to eat cake, Teasdale turned to poetry as a substitute for consummating her fantasies.
The result was a series of emotional poetic displays ranging from decrying her aloneness to resolving to forget about the whole thing and move on to song-making. Siddons' impeccable articulation, supported by an amazing piano part, richly delivered all of these feelings to a spellbound audience who rewarded him at the end with thunderous applause.
Afterward, Siddons again went to the microphone and fielded questions from the audience.
To one questioner, who asked him what kind of music he sang at home in the shower, Siddons, smiling, fired back without a moment's hesitation, "Whatever happens to float though my mind!"