Where would you expect to find an associate professor of music at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon? Other than in Mac, maybe in Portland or Bend, performing with the philharmonic orchestra.
But in Chapala, State of Jalisco in Mexico? Not likely!
But surprise, Professor Anton Belov, a baritone of international reputation, performed at our St. Andrews Anglican Church here in Riberas, for about 100 people, including his mother, our two doors down neighbor.
Our church, an Anglican version of the Episcopal Church in the United States, has an outstanding minister of music, Tim Ruff Welch, pianist and organist, director, and all around fun guy to know, who accompanied Belov.
Belov is a native of Russia, as is his mother. His education credentials include degrees from The New England Conservatory, Boston University and the Julliard School. Look him up on Google for more information and a sample of his singing. Just another example of small world isn’t it occurrences! Oh my, yes, but so much more. Belov’s voice is fantastic and he also was an entertainer. In addition to singing in Italian, Russian, Spanish and English, he showed off a bit of his teaching skills as he introduced each song, along with history as well as the story behind the song.
Belov sang a series of pieces, much as an orchestra might do, after which the audience was asked to refrain from applauding until the entire series was concluded. He asked this in English, then requested of Tim to repeat the request in Spanish. Which he did, flawlessly, but to make his point, Tim went to his organ bench and withdrew a rope whip, threatening to use it if anyone failed to withhold their applause until the appropriate time! I told you, he is a fun guy.
Needless to say the audience behaved perfectly.
Songs presented that you might recognize included “The Impossible Dream,” “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “My Way” and “Granada.” A treat near the end was his singing of two numbers by, and telling the story of, Mexican composer, Maria Grever, author of 800 songs during her lifetime, from 1885 to 1951.
As I write this, the day after the concert, Professor Belov is conducting a class for local aspiring singers. What a guy, bringing Linfield College to Chapala!
And to conclude this article, a weather report from our lovely part of planet Earth. As we are in the middle of winter, today, we have a Willamette Valley kind of day, which is to say, rainy.
Tomorrow is expected to be the same. Yes, this is somewhat unusual, but it does remind us of Oregon, if not precisely Central Oregon. After tomorrow, we anticipate being back to sunny skies and temps in the 70s.