What are you fighting for?

On Friday, July 17, Mezzoid Voice Studio held its first online masterclass featuring an outside clinician. Our guest was Lissa deGuzman, who was a former student of mine in Milwaukee, and has gone on to perform as Jasmine in the national tour of Aladdin, as Ann Darrow (cover) in the Broadway production of King Kong, and as a princess in the pre-Broadway production of Bliss.

I can’t tell you how pleased I was with her work as a clinician.

Master classes can be iffy.

  • Sometimes, they can be, “Well, when performed this song, this was the way did it.”
  • Sometimes, they can be, “Wow. That’s great. I really have nothing more to say. You’re doing a great job and um. Yeah. Whatever you’re doing is … on the right track. Okay. Who’s next?”
  • Sometimes they can be, “OMG. You really don’t have any business singing this song and you’re doing it all wrong, and unless you do it this way (and I’m not sure you even can), you shouldn’t be singing this at all.” (FYI, those masterclasses suck.)

I didn’t think that this would happen. But hey, you never know. Some time I’ll talk about the time I spent 20 minutes sitting on the steps leading up to the stage at Peabody while a clinician played an audio recording of the phone lesson he gave Michael Jackson when he was on tour in Tokyo.

Lissa had a unifying theme around each person she worked with. She asked them: “What are you fighting for?”

  • In the case of the song “Home,” it was independence/freedom. Not literal, but personal.
  • For “Go the distance,” it was for a place of belonging.
  • For “Burn,” it was for personal dignity.
  • For “Times like this,” it was to find someone in your life with whom you can share things (but the questions was… who?)
  • For “Love will come and find me again,” it was to let go of the past and embrace the possibilities of the future.

I love this. It’s such a wonderful and strong choice to make.

Also, to think of audition cuts as a song in and of itself, rather than just fulfilling the audition requirement. Your cut starts in the middle of the song? Well, it’s the beginning now, and that’s how you have to think of it. You have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it may only be 60-90 seconds, but you have a story to tell. So – what’s your story? What are you trying to achieve? What are you fighting for?

I am in the process of working on a second masterclass and will be announcing that soon. Follow my studio facebook page for more updates!

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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