The Passing of John McGlinn
Beyond those bare-bones facts, all other coverage about McGlinn—or writings by McGlinn—dealt with his work, how he did his research and stories of the musicals that he restored. In one of his interviews with Terry Gross, the listener got a tiny peek into McGlinn's personal life when she asked about his singing:
I sing at rehearsal. I sing when someone’s missing. I have—I say modestly—a very pretty, little teeny-weeny tiny tenor voice. But it was much too small to do anything with operatically, which is what I wanted to do. And I stopped singing for a very practical reason, which is that it terrified me so, that I would shake and I would vomit. Oh, it was just horrible and this was no life for an adult human being. I’m terribly glad I went through that. I studied voice for eight years, I took three lessons a week, and I performed in college and all of that. I know what kind of hell singers go through when they perform. And that’s terribly useful to me as a conductor. I can hear before it happens when a singer is about to run out of breath. I can hear coming out of the throat when a singer needs just that little bit of extra room to get over the register break for a high note. And I think that’s one of the reasons singers like working with me so much in that, unlike some conductors, I’m extremely sympathetic to the physical demands of what a singer has to endure in order to produce the sounds they do.
I am thrilled to know nothing—zippo, nada—about the nitty-gritty of John McGlinn's life. By guarding his privacy—for whatever reasons—he enabled us to become intoxicated by his splendid work with no gaudy personal baggage to detract from it.