On Whose Shoulders We Stand

The making of a singing career is no easy feat.  We are dependent on so many things; the right place at the right time, the unexpected meetings, the correct teacher, who you know, what you don’t know and luck has a bit to do with things as well. The most important piece is that someone hears and sees something they like in what you do.  


Sir David Willcocks heard something in how I sang very early on in my dream of singing on the world stages. My father Gerald Fagan conducted the London Fanshawe Symphonic Choir and invited Sir David to come from England and conduct.  Judas Maccabaeus was the oratorio we discovered under his gentle and detailed watchfulness.  What I learned of Handel in those days, would have covered a university semester. Sir David invited me to sing with him again on numerous occasions including his Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England.  He became a mentor and a friend.


This morning he changed his residence to Heaven and is with a number of my other champions; Maureen Forrester, Lois Marshall, Greta Kraus, Irene Jessner, and his dear friend Elmer Isler.  How fortunate I have been to have these “Greats” affect my singing path.   From each of these iconic musicians, I have learned lessons on which I have built a career.  It is on these shoulders and many more that I stand when I sing.  On whose shoulders do you stand?