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Met Opera chorister produces CD for Joplin High School tornado relief

RANDY: David Lowe graduated from Joplin High School (then called Parkwood) in 1976, and spent two years at Pittsburg State University before moving to New York to attend the Juilliard School of Music.  He's been a tenor in the Metropolitan Opera Chorus for the past 13 years.

(Fade up on song: " hometown, my hometown, the folks who live in my hometown are proud to call it home..."
DAVID LOWE:  All I really wanted to be in high school was Elton John, and somehow I wound up singing opera, so... (chuckle).

RANDY: SO you're full-time in the Met chorus...  it boggles my mind to imagine how much repertoire, in different styles and in differnt languages, that you've sung during that period of time.

DAVID LOWE: Right, it's pretty intense.  We do anywhere from 20 to 25 different operas a year, in Italian, French, German, Russian... it's a very intense job!  The season runs from the end of September through the middle of May, sometimes seven shows a week, that we're rehearsing during the day.  And it's because it's a repertoire company that we're always rehearsing for the next production coming up.  So it's a pretty intense schedule.

RANDY: Do you get to do any solo work in New York?

DAVID: Well, in the Met Chorus we get to audition every year for small one-liner sort of solos in the various operas, which is a really fantastic thing.  We get our names in the program and out on the poster in  front, and it keeps us, you know, up there on stage.  But outside of the Met?  Very little time--it's a full-time job and commitment, singing in the chorus.

RANDY: David had wanted to record what he calls a few of his mother's "favorite songs"--country songs, Willie Nelson... he even did his own four-part arrangement of Route 66... and then the EF-5 tornado struck his hometown last May 22nd.

(Fade up song "My Hometown": "...On a normal Sunday afternoon in May a storm went through our town, blew half of it away.  Without a lot of warning, peoples' lives turned upside down....")

DAVID: And I thought, "What could I do to help and give back to Joplin?"  And I came up with the idea of trying to do this CD and sell it and raise funds for my school.  They have a program there called "Bright Futures Joplin," so all the proceeds are going to that fund, and specifically to my high school music and theatre departments.  And one of my trips home this summer, after seeing the destruction of the tornado, I was inspired to sit down and write my own song, which is "My Hometown," and it's dedicated just to Joplin.  It's kind of an inspirational song--it's about the hope and rebuilding of Joplin.  It's not about the destruction.  And I did a video to go along with it that's on YouTube.  And so all the proceeds from the sale of the CD and the song are all going to this fund.

RANDY: We should say this song is in a NON-operatic style....

DAVID: Right, exactly. (Chuckle) Easy listening, country-pop style.

RANDY: Now, of course, as you say, it's available on YouTube, which means it's available to anybody for free.  But you're trying to raise money.  So where do people go now to actually purchase the song (and CD) to help with the recovery efforts?

DAVID: To my website, And it's also on iTunes now, it just came out on iTunes, so you can get it there as well.

(Fade up on song: " an eagle she'll soar, yes, that's my hometown....")