Whole Lotta Exciting News!

By Melanie Alpert | The Kitchen Sink

Jan 22

First, let me welcome everyone back! It was nice to see your smiling faces and hear your beautiful voices last week. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday; we sure did!

OK, back to studio stuff: We had some really exciting news at the SCVA Competition on Saturday, January 13th (more about that competition in a minute). Kari Kennedy informed us that she was chosen as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Los Angeles County Music Center Spotlight Awards! They usually pick only 10 to 15 semi-finalists out of about 180 competitors. We’ve kept our streak going with four semi-finalists in four years. Way to go Kari! There will be a master class on Sunday, January 28th featuring soorano Carol Neblett, at the Music Center. These are usually very good and I would encourage all of you to attend, especially if you participated or you are in high school. I will post more about this later. I will be attending, so if you wish to attend please let me know so we can carpool.

The SCVA Competition. This is a classical competition for middle school and high school students. SCVA stands for the Southern California Vocal Association. It is a well respected organization of choral and vocal teachers both from public and private schools and teachers from private studios. The competition is?Ǭ†run as a master class and it’s always?Ǭ†a wonderful experience. This year was no different. We had a great adjudicator, Chris Gravis, who is a singer and conductor throughout Southern California. He was kind, enthusiatic, and encouraging. We had a very?Ǭ†full site, but he spent as much time as possible with every student, no matter how advanced. I believe everyone took away something new to think about! At the end of the day, he had to pick two middle school and five high school semi-finalists. We had only seven people of the 25 entered but four people from the studio were chosen as semi-finalists! In the middle school category, Sarah Hinrichsen was chosen and in the high school category, the semi-finalists were Sarah Jackson, Gabi Martinez and Kari Kennedy. All our studio participants also performed beautifully! They were Kaitlyn Orr, Michael Sturgis, and Mercedes Machado. I was so proud of each one! Congratulations to our semi-finalists and good luck in the next round.
I would also like to congratulate Maggie Anderson, Sarah Hinrichsen, Ashley Blackwell, Frankie Libuti, Kaitlyn and Mckensie Orr, Michael Sturgis, and Alex Calentine, who were all selected for the youth ensemble for Citrus College’s production of Beauty and the Beast! It should be a wonderful?Ǭ†show and I encourage all of you to attend.

Sunday night I attended a recital by one of our greatest living dramatic sopranos, Debra Voigt. She presented a program of song from Mozart to Bernstein. She had a very bad cold and after her first song she went off stage and returned with a box of Kleenex. This cracked up the audience and she then expained that she wasn’t feeling too great. This really broke the stuffy formality of a “recital” and her warm personality really shown through. It made for a very special evening of some wonderfully expressive and exquisite singing.

Debra Voigt
Debra Voigt

You could not hear?Ǭ†a cold?Ǭ†in her voice; it was clear, round and well supported. The pieces she chose ran the gamut from sorrowful to joyful; some were timely and poignant. Each was sung flawlessly and showed her dramatic range. What a wonderful treat to see someone so in control of their artistry. I was really watching a master perform.?Ǭ†

Students:?Ǭ†?Ǭ†go see?Ǭ†people like this perform. It is a very different experience seeing a great artist in person as opposed to just listening to them on a cd or even watching them on television or DVD. You can actuallly feel their energy. The passion for what they do invades the room, and invades your soul, as Debra Voigt did mine. Take advantage of the fact that we live near one of the great cities?Ǭ†of the world. We have the world class artists who come to perform, from opera singers to classical musicians to musical theater stars. We have a world class opera company, the LA Opera. On top of that we have a world class symphony orchestra, the LA Philharmonic and many, many opportunities to see first class Musical Theater. I do know that many times these experiences can be expensive. But save your pennies and make sure you get out at least once in a while to see live theater, or a live musical experience. It can be life changing!

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