Mel Broiles had just demonstrated how one of those opera arias in Arban's The Art of Phrasing should sound. Then it was my turn. (Yes pressure!)
Trying hard to reproduce even some of his elegance and power, I whole-heartedly plowed through one of those famous Verdi arias. I gave it my best, but expected a grimace and shrug of disapproval. Instead, he exclaimed, "Spoken like a gentleman!"
Later I wondered if it was sarcasm or genuine praise. Praise was hard to get. I took it as a compliment which has served as motivation lasting for years. How important are the words we speak!