It never failed. Late November into December, when my performing groups were approaching the final stages of concert preparation, one or more students would ask me, “Can you help me prepare a piece for my audition?” Most of the time it was for an early college audition, or an audition for a musical. “When is your audition, and what are you planning to sing?” were my first questions. The answer was predictable: “I’m not sure when it is, and I was hoping you could help me choose a song!”
One of the most important but sometimes overlooked jobs of a choral director is to help their students take care of their voices. With the stress of repertoire preparation and the other time-consuming aspects of our job, it can be something that we cognitively recognize but don’t necessarily have the time or energy to pursue. Our students, no matter the age, are going through critical times in their vocal development. We ask a lot of them vocally – range, projection, volume, facial expression, blend, tone, and many other skills – and we need to help them protect their voices and learn to care for them in a healthy way.
A large wall photo at a Philadelphia exhibition shows Leonard Bernstein during one of the most poignant days of his life – a day in 1948 when he conducted a concert with a small group of Holocaust survivors in Germany. The picture and the story behind the moment are part of the Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History. The presentation marks what would have been Bernstein’s 100th birthday in August 2018.
It is hard to match the magic of musical theater, and when the show in question happens to be the smash hit Wicked, magic is just the start. For the past 14 years, Wicked has enchanted countless visitors with its charm, leading to both national and international tours.
Among the great 20th century composers, Leonard Bernstein stands out as having impacted perhaps the widest range of musical styles. His works can be heard in concert halls, musical theater venues, on the silver screen, and in places of worship.
Among the many great names in musical theater, English operetta masters William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were two of the earliest to gain global acclaim. Starting in 1871, the two collaborated on fourteen comedic operas, many of which are still widely performed around the world.
A lot goes into putting on a youth musical; that should come as a surprise to no one. What many teachers do is take the “full” version of a musical and pare it down to a performable piece for elementary or middle school students.
A flurry of activity surrounds the 50th anniversary of the movie The Sound of Music. Released in March of 1965, it immediately began to make waves in both the film and musical worlds.
Aladdin, the classic tale of a street rat’s adventures in finding himself and true love, hit the Broadway stage on February 26 at the New Amsterdam Theater.
On December 5, NBC aired a live performance of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic. The Sound of Music cast may have changed, but the story is as lively and inspiring as ever. For those of you who might not be familiar with the full impact the show has had, here’s a little history: