From the Chair: Music@Webster

From the Chair of the Department of Music, Webster University in Saint Louis

NYC info for choir tour


nyc-subway - 1TRANSPORT

Walking in comfortable shoes is a must.

The MTA sells pre-paid cards.  If you are going to travel on the subway or bus for four or more rides daily, a 7-day transit card will cost less than $35 and allow unlimited rides on local buses and all subways. Otherwise, purchase a by-the-ride card and top up when you need to.

“Downtown and Brooklyn” mean any train heading south or toward the harbor. “Uptown” means anything heading the opposite direction.

Please download the app SUBWAY MAP by Gotham Wave Games.  You’ll thank me.

Remember that everything takes longer in NYC.  You will walk, then wait, then ride, then walk, then wait.  Allow plenty of time to get places.

UBER is the same cost as taxis in NYC, so you might as well get in a taxi if you need to.

5th Ave is the dividing line. Avenues run north/south.  Numbered streets run east/west, and are very long.

nyc-helicopter - 25SAFETY

NYC, and especially Midtown, is among the safest cities you will find.

Midtown will have packed sidewalks 16 hours a day.  I always carry my wallet in my front pocket.  I never have a backpack unzipped or open.  In other words: use appropriate caution.

If away from touristy areas, be aware of your surroundings, and travel in groups of two or three.

Credit cards and debit cards are accepted everywhere.

Beware pickpockets.

Aggressive begging on the subway is more and more common.  I avert my eyes.


ROW NYC is a four-star hotel with smallish rooms, no coffee makers or in-room ability to cook or refrigerate, free wi-fi, and a great location.

You will punch in the first two numbers of your floor, and the hotel elevator will be assigned to you.

DO NOT place your room key near your phone.  I shall explain.

The hotel bar is pricey.  Drink elsewhere.

Do not charge anything to your room.

We have no room checks or mandatory curfew.  Simply be ready and fully involved at each rehearsal and performance.

The hotel en-suite bathrooms are small.  Since you are four-to-a-room, please consider not spreading out your toiletries, but rather keeping them in a gallon plastic bag.

By the way, the sidewalks around our hotel impossibly crowded, as will be the hotel lobby at times.  Walk single file?


We will arrive before the hotel rooms are ready.

You must use the tag provided by the hotel!

Your luggage will then be delivered directly to you room.

So – one bag to leave at the hotel for the afternoon, and anything else you carry with you for the afternoon. Think carefully about packing and what you put in what bag.


Please remember this rule: a group of four is easier to seat in a restaurant than a group of eight.  Please consider dining in small groups or duos. (Few restaurants in our area of town are equipped to handle a group of six!)

The hotel has a small, mid-priced food court.  I buy coffee there, but nothing else.

Across 8th Ave = Nathan’s.  Catty-corner to hotel = Carve Café.  Both can provide filling meals.

But venture over to 9th Ave for a thousand ethnic restaurants and slightly better prices.

A huge slice of pizza can be had for $2.

You’ll find a decent grocery store with pre-made sandwiches and such just five blocks north of the hotel.  Look for The Food Emporium at 49th and 8th.

Street vendors provide hearty food at not-too-expensive prices.  You must pay cash - 5


Download the TODAY TIX app for better prices on seats at some shows.

TKTS is the cheapest, but you will stand in line for quite a while.

You may also book shows directly.

My curated show list includes Waitress, Miss Saigon, Come From Away, and Hello, Dolly with Bette Midler.  You’ll find musicals for all tastes.

The Play That Went Wrong is a side-splitting comedy.times - 1


The view of Times Square at night, which is one of the great views in the world.  Walk east from the hotel one block on 45th and you will be in the heart of the action.

Walking the High Line

Selfies at Lincoln Center Plaza

Central Park

Staten Island Ferry and the views of the Statue of Liberty and the Financial District.

Walking on 5th Avenue

Battery Park

9/11 Memorial Plaza

The Oculus by 9/11 Plaza

Most churches (and NYC has some splendid ones)

The daily farmer’s market at Union Square (but bring cash to purchase things)

Washington Square Park by NYU

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (go to Brooklyn Bridge/Chambers St stop on the 4/5/6 line)

nycsunday17 - 6



Top of the Rock

One World Observatory

Empire State Building

The Metropolitan Opera

Most museums

9/11 Museum

Hop-on/Hop-off bus (but the nighttime tour might be worth it for first-timers)


Century 21


  • Be 15 minutes early to each rehearsal. Allow plenty of time for the walk to Carnegie Hall. Se the example for all others in this mega-choir.  We instigated this concert; let’s lead it with authority.
  • Look up. Keep looking up.  Stay off your phone on the sidewalks.  But more importantly, take in the views of the tall buildings and the decoration on them.
  • REST! Don’t stay out all night.  NYC is tiring, and you will do more walking than you realize.  Going non-stop is a recipe for exhaustion, poor singing, and frustration.


nyc-helicopter - 8

From NYC

As I have five times in the last few years, I spent some time this week in New York City to support my six senior voice students at their Conservatory showcase.  And I took some photos of their work.

At the Basilica

MANY thanks to Rene Zajner for his most-excellent photos of the choral concert at the Cathedral Basilica last month!

We were delighted to present Chamber Singers and Concert Choir, alongside a choir from UMSL, in this marvelous space.

Last evening

On stage last evening!

choral17-3 - 1choral17-3 - 2

Sweet melodies

We presented a most pleasing Webster University Orchestra concert last evening, with one of the Bach Brandenburg concertos, and a little Beethoven 7th symphony on the bill.

Soloists in the Bach were Heidi Harris, Paula Kasica, Stephen Lucido — all led by Dr. Paul Davis.

Concert Choir

At the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis on Friday evening.  What a glorious space with a marvelous choir!

How to get to Carnegie

Click to find out!!


Four Webster University students and I traveled to Jefferson City today for Missouri Citizens for the Arts Day at the State Capitol.

I was joined by

  • Nathan Coleman, senior piano performance major
  • Brittany Graham, graduate vocal performance major
  • Atum Jones, senior guitar performance major
  • Madeline Purches, senior musical theatre major.

At the invitation of MCA leadership, we sang a noontime concert in the Capitol rotunda, then had lunch at a nearby restaurant.

But first, I showed them the Thomas Hart Benton murals in the Capitol:


In the House Lounge with the Bentons. L-R: Purches, Coleman, Jones, Graham.

Scenes from the concert:



This is us

Schene returns

Prof. Daniel Schene returned from his Fall2016 sabbatical today, playing a wonderful recital of Mozart, Chopin, and Ravel.