I recently took a course on organizing my studio (not that I haven’t been running my own studio for 20 years, but hey, you can always do things better). One of the exercises that I did was to identify my strengths. This popped up when I was looking for past studio recital programs to use as a template. It was called “Mighty-ness.” I thought, in view of the fact that the studio recital is this Sunday, that this was a good way of describing why I do what I do. (The prompts are in bold, my responses following.)
I’m often complimented on the way I handle studio recitals. I’m really good at programming music that is entertaining as well educational, that the student is comfortable with (but still challenged by), and at putting performers in an order where no one feels like, “Oh, I have to follow her? NOOOOOOO.” I don’t put people in order from least-to-best, either, because, well, that’s tedious for people to have to sit through and it makes the people early or middle in the program feel like, “Heyyyyyyy,” because it’s obvious that you’re saving the best for last. (It’s very validating for those at the end of the program, however.) I program based on the music that’s being performed – if there’s a great opening song, that’s the opening song, regardless of who is performing it, my most beginning student or my most advanced. I’m good at creating variety and interest, and finding some kind of theme to link things together (or at least to come up with a title that works).
My studio recitals have been smooth, and my expectations are clear so that students know what they have to prepare and how they have to present it. Whether they’re your typical assembly line park & bark recital or a semi-staged ensemble recital, the order is clear, and there’s never a gap of “Oh, whose turn is it now… um… I’m not ready…”
The things I find easy that others find difficult are:
- Choosing repertoire
- Programming (see above – and below)
- Diagnosing vocal issues and
- Prescribing solutions
- Creating exercises off the top of my head
- Finding really cool and obscure pieces – especially American song
- Justifying just about anything that I do [including using this to promote the studio recital]
I’m super good at programming! Whether it’s my own cabaret show, a recital or a studio recital, I am really good at picking repertoire and putting together entertaining and moving programs. I’ve had people say, “You could charge money for this!” after my studio showcases (ah, but then I’d really have to get the rights to things I do!). I try to use the idea of cabaret as “personal musical theater” (from a master class) by Amanda McBroom to govern the studio recitals I’ve done. I want people to love to share their songs, not just perform like show ponies.
So that was my “mighty-ness.” And hopefully, you’ll agree with me after this Sunday’s (June 9!) recital, “Come to the Fair!” at Springwell Senior Living Center in the chapel at 3pm!
Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio
Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass.
As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination.
Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.
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