Composer / Conductor / Administrator  Michael  Ching

A Conversation with Bruce Duffie


Michael Ching (born September 29, 1958) is an American composer, conductor, and music administrator. A prolific and eclectic composer, he is best known nationally as the composer of innovative operas, including his a cappella adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (2011). His other major operas include Buoso's Ghost (1996), Corps of Discovery (2003), Slaying the Dragon (2012), Speed Dating Tonight! (2013), and Alice Ryley (2015). He has written the librettos of many of his own operas, and has done so for all of his operas composed after 2012.

He is on the board of directors of the National Opera Association.

Michael Ching was born in 1958 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Before he was one year old his family left Honolulu, and he grew up in New Orleans and Saint Paul, Minnesota. His father was an accomplished amateur pianist and a college professor in theater and speech. Ching later recalled, "He played everything from Chopin to Dave Brubeck transcriptions. He wanted to go into music but his family discouraged him."

Ching started piano at the age of six and was quite skilled at it, at one point considering a career as a concert pianist. In addition, he studied flute, violin, and oboe, mostly for the sake of composition. He started composing as a child, and by the time he reached high school he had studied composition at Interlochen and also had private composition instruction.

He attended Duke University on a composition scholarship, studying with Robert Ward and Iain Hamilton. He graduated in 1980, and his senior project was a one-act opera retelling a vampire story set in New Orleans, which received a small performance at Duke.

Ching began his career as a National Opera Institute apprentice 1980–1981 at the Houston Grand Opera Studio, where he was involved in the company's productions and continued his composition studies with composer Carlisle Floyd. From 1981 to 1985 he held increasingly responsible positions at the Greater Miami Opera/Florida Grand Opera. He subsequently held conductor and executive director positions at venues including Texas Opera Theatre, Chautauqua Opera, and Triangle Music Theater.

In 1989 he was appointed Assistant to the General Director of Virginia Opera. He was subsequently the company's Associate Artistic Director from 1991 through mid-1992.

In 1992 Ching joined Opera Memphis as Artistic Director, a position he held through 2010. He was the opera's General Director for most of those years as well.

He left Opera Memphis for Iowa in the spring of 2010 when his wife Barbara, a university professor and a native Iowan, was named chair of the English department at Iowa State University. He told the Memphis Daily News, "Barbara and I always had a plan that I would be able to stay home and write and she would be the one carrying the economic ball. The time was right and the job came through."

In addition to being a freelance composer and conductor, Ching is also Chairman of the Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera, which supports emerging opera creators. He was Music Director of Nickel City Opera in Buffalo, New York, from 2012 to 2017, and he has been Music Director of Amarillo Opera in Amarillo, Texas, since September 2016.

In 2019 he was elected to the board of directors of the National Opera Association.

==  Names which are links in this box and below refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website.  BD  

Michael Ching was in Chicago at the end of March, 2000, for performances of his opera Buosos Ghost by the Chicago Opera Theater.  He had a busy schedule, but graciously took time to sit down with me to discuss his burgeoning career.

A portion of the conversation was aired on WNIB to promote the production, and now, as he approaches his 65th birthday, I am pleased to present the entire encounter.

Bruce Duffie:   [A bit of informal chit-chat as we were setting up to record]  We’ll use some of this to promote the last two performances, and then we will just chat about your musical interests and experiences.  That way I don’t have to bother you so much.

Michael Ching:   Oh, this isn’t a bother.  I’m glad to do it.

BD:   You’re juggling family, and performances.  Does everything become too complicated and impinge on the actual music?

Ching:   Gosh, I don’t really think so!  It’s a new thing.  We’ve just adopted this little girl from China, and so she’s been put into the mix.  I’m still trying to get up to speed on it, but it’s working out just fine.

BD:   You are an American of Chinese descent, so you adopted someone from your ancestral home?

Ching:   Yes, it’s a little girl from China.  My grandparents were born here, and part of my family is actually from Chicago.  In fact, I was just down on Cermak Road in Chinatown looking at it, because I hadn’t seen it since the early 1970s.

BD:   [Beginning the proper interview]  Tell me about Buoso’s Ghost.

Ching:   It’s a sequel to Gianni Schicchi.  Those of us in the opera business like to fool around at times, and think about what happens to Trouble, Butterfly
s son, after the end of the opera.  Or what happens to Alfredo and Giorgio Germont after the end of La Traviata.  Did the father and son get along, or do they hate each other for the rest of their lives?

BD:   I often wonder about Sophie and Octavian in the
fourth act of Rosenkavalier.

Ching:   There you go!  So, this was one of those things.  The genesis of the opera happened when the idea came up at a breakfast here in Chicago at the Congress Hotel.  Several opera companies were holding joint auditions, because we like to hear singers from the Midwest.  So the idea for doing a sequel to Gianni Schicchi came up over breakfast.

BD:   How long ago was this?

Ching:   It must have been in about 1992 or ’93.  Gianni Schicchi has always been a little bit problematic in terms of finding just the right mate for it.  Big operas can do the whole trilogy...

BD:   I was going to say Puccini had actually done that.

Ching:   Right, but smaller companies have a little bit more trouble finding the right pairing for it.  So it’s been paired with all sorts of odd things, like Trouble in Tahiti, or The Impresario, or La Voix Humane, just all sorts of strange things.  So the idea for this came up as a way to keep the story going.

BD:   Is there any chance at all that Buoso’s Ghost could be played without Gianni Schicchi?

Ching:   I don’t think so. 
It just won’t work separately.  I can’t even really imagine it ever being separate.  Some of the jokes wouldn’t work because the last eight or twelve bars of Gianni Schicchi are the first eight or twelve bars of Buoso’s Ghost.  So unless you have that fresh in your mind, you won’t get the jokes.  There are a lot of Puccini quotations from Tosca, Madame Butterfly, and Turandot.  There’s even a quotation from Ponchielli’s La Gioconda.  It’s sort of a crossword puzzle effect for the opera lover.  You wonder where’s that from?  Anyway, the audience wouldn’t quite get it if it was there on its own.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   You are a composer, a conductor, and also an administrator?

Ching:   Yes, I’m the General Director and the Artistic Director of Opera Memphis, which is an opera company that does three or four standard repertory operas in Memphis, Tennessee.  We just got through doing an Aïda, which was the operatic conducting debut of Sherrill Milnes.  He did a very nice job with it, and I do some conducting there and elsewhere.

BD:   Do you do a lot of composing, or is this something you dabble in?

Ching:   No, I’m a serious composer, but I’m certainly not one of those composers who writes eight hours a day.  I write a little bit every day in the morning, and that’s pretty much enough for me.  Then I do some more in the evenings and weekends.

BD:   You’ve also produced a piano concerto?  [CD of this work is shown below.]

Ching:   Yes, there’s a piano concerto, and seven one-act operas.

BD:   Being General Director of an opera company, does that influence your choice of compositions?

Ching:   It definitely does.  I’ve had an intermittent knowledge of the standard operatic repertoire, and I really love it.  I’m not coming in from left-field, and it’s been very important for me as a composer.

BD:   Tell me the joys and sorrows of working with the human voice.

Ching:   The human voice is something you really need to handle carefully.  There’s this problem called ‘diction’.  The higher it gets and the higher they sing, the less clear it is.  It’s really something that takes a while to master, and I don’t think you ever completely master it.  But working with great singers, both young professionals and experienced ones, has really helped me learn how to write for the voice.

BD:   How did you start out in the music business?

Ching:   I started in the Houston Opera Studio as a composer and a coach, and I’ve been in the opera field as Chorus Master, Music Administrator, Artistic Administrator, and now General Director and Conductor.

BD:   Wouldn
t this put you almost in a unique position for composing, because you understand so many aspects?

Ching:   Yes, it’s really not too bad.  One can think of Menotti, but there are not that many models now.  In the olden days, there were many more people that did administer and compose.  I couldn’t do all this with a huge organization.  Opera Memphis is big enough to be respectable, but not so big that I’m swamped by it.
BD:   If it gets too big, will you resign your position?

Ching:   If it gets too big, I’d have to at least cut back.  I don’t really enjoy reading audits, and writing grants.

BD:   How do you balance it all now, along with your family life?

Ching:   It’s stimulating.  For example, at the opera company I have doctors, lawyers, and other very interesting people on the Board, and they feed my habit for composing because they all have interesting stories and interesting lives.  Being able to conduct the standard repertoire, and having a really intimate familiarity with it, also helps the composing.  They all feed off of each other very nicely.

BD:   They know you’re a composer of operas.  Do they expect you to include those, or ask that you not do things of your own?

Ching:   [Laughs]  I am not trying to turn Opera Memphis into my little Bayreuth, so I try not to do my operas there first.  Memphis was the second place to do Buoso’s Ghost.  It started at the Pittsburgh Opera, and then was done at Opera Memphis, and then on to the Indianapolis Opera, and now here in Chicago.  I don’t mind the Opera Memphis audience wanting to know about my work, but I don’t want to turn the company into my private sandbox.

BD:   Is it especially comforting to know that this is now your fourth production of this work?

Ching:   Yes, it is!  I’ve gotten modest reputation for
replicability.  Replicability is a really important thing to me.  Smaller opera companies have a good sense of what is replicable, because a larger opera company may commission a work that can only be done by other larger opera companies.  The Barber of Seville was first given by a small opera company in a small house, with small resources.  Now it can be done anywhere, whereas [John Corigliano’s] The Ghost of Versailles would be hard for a smaller opera company to do.

BD:   [Gently protesting]  Yet the big opera companies need spectacle.

Ching:   Right, and there’s room for that as well.

BD:   If you were asked by a big company to do a big work, would you write it for them?

Ching:   Of course!  [Gales of laughter]

BD:   Would you accept immediately, or would you look into yourself and ask if you could do it?

Ching:   Oh, I think I can, and I’m ready to do a full-length opera.  But I wouldn’t want it to be a needless empty spectacle.  I wouldn’t want the spectacle to over-burden the production.

BD:   When you write a new opera, how do you find your libretto?  Do you seek something out, or do you wait for it to come to you?

Ching:   It’s been different with different operas.  For example, I have another little chamber opera called Faith, which is actually going to be done in Chicago during the World’s Science Fiction Convention this fall.  It’s an unusual venue for an opera performance, and it’s based on a short story by a Hugo Award-winning science fiction writer.  Some of the other operas that I’ve written have been based on brand new subject matters.  The opera company Wilmington Delaware wanted a piece about AIDS, centering around that subject, so my librettist and I worked out something that worked for them.  So, sometimes they’re new and sometimes they’re based on existing material.

BD:   Does that change your writing style at all?

Ching:   I don’t think so.  Every work has its own writing demands.  I don’t quote Puccini any time I write an opera.  In this case, it’s part of the joke, and hopefully part of the fun.

BD:   [With a gentle nudge]  Opera is supposed to be fun???

Ching:   [Laughs]  Comedies are very hard to write, and most operas tend to be on the tragic side.  I’m actually rather proud of the fact that audiences do laugh at this opera.

BD:   Besides laughing at the comic lines, what else do you expect of the audience that comes to hear one of your works?

Ching:   It’s an interesting bridge in this particular work, because an opera audience member who is coming to hear O mio babbino caro in Gianni Schicchi, or is in love with Puccini, may be viewing contemporary music as a mildly threatening experience.  Hopefully this opera will not seem that way to an audience member who is used to going to the standard repertoire.

BD:   When you write either an abstract piece or one that has no connection to something else, do you then write in a more modern style, or is it still just your idiom?

Ching:   Most of my work is fairly conservative and melodic.  Being in Memphis, Tennessee, which is one of the popular music capitals of the country, I do dabble a little bit at song writing, so I’m very influenced by things that have melodies.  For example, my piano concerto has got a very clear squared-off theme at the very beginning, at which, when you first hear it, you might roll your eyeballs, and wonder where the heck it is going to go!  Hopefully you’ll realize there is some interesting material, and it
s taken somewhere.

BD:   Do you want people to wonder where is it going to go, and then let you take them on an adventure?

Ching:   Yes, in a certain kind of a way.  You want to surprise people a little bit.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   You’re making a go of the composition as well as the conducting.  Do you conduct some of your own music?

Ching:   No, I don’t like to conduct my own music because it’s important that you have another set of ears.  In the whole business about directors, and conductors, and designers, are all part of the team, and if you don’t have another body, another input, or another mind to be serving as the conductor, you lose that extra person’s input.  As it happened, I have conducted some of my own works.  I did conduct Buoso’s Ghost, but I generally try not to be involved in the productions.

BD:   Are you pleased with what others find in your scores?

Ching:   I am both pleased and surprised.  A conductor can also serve as a good editor, because the composer will put something down on the page, and then realize all the things that have been forgotten when the conductor does just what has been written.  You might have meant they’re free to speed up here, or that really needed to be a diminuendo.  You don’t notice some of that until you have another interpreter.

BD:   How much latitude do you allow for interpretation?

Ching:   When I’m around and it’s a first production, I’m a little bit intrusive.  However, with this production of Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost, I didn’t come to see the rehearsal period.  I just came to see the performances.

BD:   But this is an existing work.

Ching:   Right, so it’s a little different.

BD:   I’m looking for that illusive line of where interpretation leads into distortion.

Ching:   That can be a problem.  For example, the first stage director of Buoso’s Ghost didn’t like the ending of the opera.  The opera has a happy ending, which maybe everyone doesn’t agree with, but I wanted it to have a happy ending, and the stage director of the first production thought that it needed a dark ending.  So he changed it!  When I showed up for the performance, he had rewritten my ending.  I didn’t really appreciate that.

BD:   If he wants to do that, let him write his own piece!

Ching:   Yes, that’s right, let him right his own darn opera!  [Both laugh]

BD:   Now you’re adding to the repertoire of operas.  Is it good that we are pushing opera forward these days, and are you helping that push with your works?

Ching:   Oh, I hope so!  In the case of my work, helping to push opera forward means not breaking the vessels or shocking the audience.  To me, it’s really more about building a bridge to the audience.  For example, Buoso’s Ghost starts with a fairly nice lyrical duet, because at the very beginning the two young lovers, Rinuccio and Lauretta, come back and sing about how happy life is going to be for them.
BD:   How much time has elapsed between the two operas?

Ching:   Practically no time at all.

BD:   A couple of months?

Ching:   Just a couple of minutes!

BD:   The house has been cleared, and then they come back?

Ching:   Right.  That duet doesn’t have a whole lot of information in it.  It’s just a pretty duet, and it’s designed for the audience to know everything’s going to be okay!  They can sit through this opera, and they might even like it!  It’s a continuum.  There are certainly more adventurous composers out there, and there is room for them.  But as someone who is working in a more conservative manner, a manner that has more reference to the standard repertory, can serve as not really the missing link, but a bridge to more adventurous works.

BD:   In general, we seem to be getting a whole group of composers who are writing much more accessible music.

Ching:   Right!

BD:   This is a good thing, I assume?

Ching:   I think so.

BD:   Are you trying to re-acquaint the audience that has been alienated by some of the aleatoric music?

Ching:   Again, I think so.  The opera audience is always looking for a beautiful melody, and a story that they can empathize with.  Those are the two things which have been missing a little bit in our recent history.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Is most of your composition opera, or is it equally divided between opera and non-vocal work?

Ching:   It’s mostly opera.  I do a little bit of instrumental music, but it’s really only for a few of my friends.

BD:   I assume you get many offers to write operas.  How do you decide you will do this one, and not do that one?

Ching:   It’s been a long road for me, and I haven’t gotten to the point where I can be incredibly choosy about it.  So if anybody is interested in commissioning me to do something, and I have the least glimmer of interest, I’m there.

BD:   What if all of a sudden you had a stack of commissions on your desk?

Ching:   I’d be pleased, and if it was too much, there would be a bit of a delay.  I’m about to embark on a pretty long process of a full-length piece on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

BD:   A journey about a journey!

Ching:   Yes, and so if, all of a sudden, I ended up with another full-length commission right on top of it, I’m not sure that I would be able to do it, and still conduct Carmen next year.  [Much laughter]  Something would have to go, and it would probably be Carmen!  [More laughter]

BD:   Looking at it from an opera composer’s standpoint, let me ask the easy question.  What’s the purpose of music?

Ching:   Oh boy, that’s not an easy question at all!  An opera composer is a lot like a film director.  He or she can inflect a scene any way they want to.  They can make you love a character, they can make you hate a character, or make you think a character is crazy just by the kind of music that they’re writing for what’s going on in the scene.  To me, that’s the sort of power and potential of what music does in an opera.

BD:   But you’re more than just a background composer!

Ching:   Oh, yes!  I don’t mean that at all as background music.  I mean it directs the emotions of the audience about what’s happening on stage completely.

BD:   Are you pleased with the directions that music is going today?

Ching:   I think I am, but that’s actually a tough question for me to answer.  I like the fact that it’s okay to be a little more accessible.  I was trained in the 1970s and
80s, during which time being accessible was like having smallpox.  So I’m happy that one can now write melodies, and one can write a story that’s got a linear plot.  I am happy about that fact that the direction in music has allowed me to do that.

BD:   Do you feel that you are part of a lineage of composers, or perhaps an interrupted lineage?

Ching:   I do actually.  One of the things that is a little unfortunate in our business is that lineages tended to be a little bit ignored.  I have worked with two main composers in the United States
Robert Ward and Carlisle Floydwho are part of the American operatic tradition.  There are several of us who worked with folks like that, and in a way, we comprise a kind of school.  Richard Wargo and Craig Bohmler [brief biographies in the box below] are a couple of other folks that really do write music that is accessible, and melodic.  So there is that bit of tradition.  [Note that Bohmler appears on the recording above both as pianist in the Ching Piano Concerto, and as composer of Saints.]


Richard Wargo has been heralded by The Philadelphia Enquirer as "A fresh new voice in American opera" and by Opera News as "a born opera composer." He has been granted residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan in Ireland, where he worked on Ballymore, his adaptation of the play Lovers by the Irish playwright Brian Friel.

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Based in Phoenix, Craig Bohmler is a devoted composer for the stage whose works have been widely performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. In addition to four operas and ten musicals, he has written numerous concerti, wind ensemble, choral, and symphonic works. He is currently the Composer in Residence for Arizona Opera.

bohmler Bohmler’s works have been performed by the Silicon Valley Symphony, California Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Billings Symphony, Utah Festival Opera Orchestra, and International Symphony; by European orchestras including the Milan Symphony, Orchestra Haydn, Belgian Radio Symphony, and Danish Radio Symphony; and at major music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, SUMUTE in Finland and Opera in the Alps in Australia. 

Bohmler’s long-standing relationship with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra has yielded a harp concerto, concerti for harpsichord and strings called Pentimento and Chiaroscuro, and Saints and Sinners for orchestra, mezzo and baritone, written for Robert Orth. Bohmler’s collaboration with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra has also fostered his work as a pianist; he recorded the world premiere of Michael Ching’s Piano Concerto, written for him, for the orchestra’s first commercial album.

Other recent projects include The Haunting of Winchester, a new musical to open the San Jose Repertory Theatre’s 25th anniversary season; The Quiltmaker’s Gift, commissioned by the Phoenix Theatre and now enjoying its 25th production; and Sacagawea, a musical based on the Lewis and Clark story and supported by a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Bohmler’s musical Enter the Guardsman won the grand prize in the International Musical of the Year competition in Denmark and was nominated for Best Musical at the Olivier Awards for its Sam Mendez production in London’s West End. Also produced off-Broadway,Guardsman was recognized by American Theatre Magazine as the Most Produced New Musical in regional theaters in the 2001/02 season.

His Gunmetal Blues was produced off-Broadway and in London, in addition to over 200 productions in the United States, Canada, and Japan, including the Laguna Playhouse, which released a commercial recording. Other music for the stage includes incidental music for four Shakespeare productions at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, and a pantomime, Gretel and Hansel, for Shakespeare Santa Cruz. 

His large-scale musical Mountain Days premiered at the Concord Pavilion with the California Symphony, where it has been recorded and has received six subsequent productions as an annual summer event. Other operas include The Tale of the Nutcracker, commissioned by Opera San Jose, and The Achilles Heel, which was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera for the Houston Grand Opera Studio and won first prize in the 1995 National Opera Association Competition.

Other prizes include awards from ASCAP, Dramatist Guild, and BMI, and grants from Meet the Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts. His works are published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide, Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing, and Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and have been recorded by Centaur, Original Cast, BMS, and Navona Records.

BD:   Is this the future hope of the opera?

Ching:   You’d have to be the judge of that!  [Both laugh]

BD:   Do you want to be the future hope of the opera?

Ching:   Some of my favorite models for twentieth-century opera are works like Porgy & Bess, and West Side Story, things that sit on the fence, and I would love to find a way to continue in that vein.  There is a great future for opera with works that would follow in that particular tradition.

BD:   Are you’re optimistic about the future of opera?

Ching:   Oh, yes.  I’m optimistic both as a producer and as a writer.  It has been great.  In Memphis and here in Chicago, the audiences are younger and more diverse than they used to be.  It’s a great field to be in.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Let me broach the subject of live theater versus something you see on the tube.

Ching:   Oh, I hate opera on the television.  I can’t get into it at all.  It just doesn’t grab me.

BD:   Of course, you spend all your time in the theater, so that makes it an expectation.

Ching:   But televised opera has an educational purpose.  It does cast a wider net, and there are people that probably can be brought into opera from watching it on television.  But there’s nothing like being in the theater.

BD:   From a compositional standpoint, let me ask you a balance question.   What is the balance between the inspiration and the technique?

Ching:   The inspiration is fine, but the technique is more important in opera.  The main technique that I learned from Carlisle Floyd is to be ruthless, and throw it out if you don’t like it, and write it over and throw it out again.

BD:   Throw it out, or perhaps save it for something else?

Ching:   Or save it for something else, but mainly it’s not necessarily involved in the particular way you wrote a melody, as much as it is the way you structure a scene, or the way you write a lyric, and the way lyric works with the melody.  It’s very important to develop a ruthless sense of what will work on stage.  You don’t really learn that when you’re writing a string quartet.  I could be wrong, but in all of the compositional studies I did, whenever I wrote a string quartet, nobody was ever able to tell me,
“That’s wrong, or, “That part is wrong, or, “Why did you redo that?  Whereas working on writing operas, they could tell you those things.  They could say, “That’s a cliché, or, “That’s dumb!  No one’s going to think that’s interesting.”  You could actually get to that point where you understood things like that.  Learning to revise answers the question about inspiration versus technique.  The technique of learning to revise, and to be fairly ruthless about it is a very important thing in writing for the theater.

BD:   One other balance question.  Where is the balance between art and entertainment?

Ching:   In the art and entertainment question, I fall pretty solidly on the entertainment side.  If other folks want to be more highfalutin about it, and balance it the other way, that’s fine for them.  But I do believe that you want to be first entertained, and then want to come back for the art.  The second time you hear it, you realize that maybe there’s more to it.  There, art is working as well as a surface level of entertainment.  You’ve got to write it entertainingly enough that the audience wants to hear something more of yours, or another opera company down the road wants to do your work.  So, it’s an entertainment form, at least on first impression.

BD:   Thank you for speaking with me today.  I wish you continued success.

Ching:   Thank you so much.


© 2000 Bruce Duffie

This conversation was recorded in Chicago on March 31, 2000.  Portions were broadcast on WNIB five days later.  This transcription was made in 2023, and posted on this website at that time.  My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.  To read my thoughts on editing these interviews for print, as well as a few other interesting observations, click here.

*     *     *     *     *

Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.