The semester began today at U of M with a standing ovation for our beloved professor emeritus George Shirley, who receives the National Medal of Arts this week. The University Musical Society is also receiving the honor. What a day: reconnecting with my voice division colleagues, welcoming David Daniels to our midst, meeting the musicians involved in the fall opera and getting rehearsals started, hearing inspiring words from our new dean Aaron Dworkin, and finally cheering for UMS and George! Ann Arbor is a vibrant place to be. But how I’d love to be there when our president honors George Shirley, beloved performer, teacher, and man, Detroit native, trailblazer. The biggest honor of my day was occupying the chair next to his.