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Oh, The Joy of Masterclasses!

This season’s masterclasses were full of joy and provided great opportunities for our kids to fully experience what it’s like to train as a professional singer. We offered two Masterclasses to our singers, The Alamo Baroque Festival Masterclass and a Masterclass with Chanticleer Director Fred Scott.

The Alamo Baroque Festival Masterclass was led by Grammy Award-winning singer Paul Phoenix, opera singer Alex Ashworth, concert soloist Robin Tyson, and award-winning soloist Jacqueline Horner- Kwiatek. Throughout the class the singers practiced various techniques, one being assembling in a circle to sing which encouraged cohesion by placing emphasis on the sound of the group as a whole.”It created a unique sound and made the ensemble a cohesive team rather than a group of individuals, and this carried over into their singing even when they no longer stood in a circle,” said participant Beril Saygin. It helped the choir feel like a more unified unit in the end.“I learned that in order to have a unified cohesive choir you must be feeling the same feeling together,” said singer Emily Isler.

The second Masterclass was lead by Chanticleer director Fred Scott. Scott is a renowned musician and conductor with such roles as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Atlanta Opera from 1985 to 2005 and the Associate Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1981 to 1988, under his belt. The Masterclass was given to The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio, The Madison High School Choir and the Trinity University Chorale. Each choir took their time on the stage, with Dr. Fred Scott giving advice and suggestions along the way. His focus was on mastering stage presence and truly comprehending the performance pieces. He gave feedback on proper enunciation, with emphasis on foreign text.The singers walked away with a great awareness of their audience engagement on stage. “I love the idea that a choir performance is not just an auditory experience, but a visual one as well. It is important to engage with the audience, show joy and emotion on your face, and convey your message to an audience,” said Saygin.

The singers had many takeaways from the Masterclasses and are excited at the opportunity to do them again. “I loved being able to have our music heard by a different set of ears and to receive some critiques we haven’t heard before,” said participant Jenne Takach. CCSA works hard to provide these opportunities for training and learning for all of our students and we are extremely proud of the positive effects it’s had on our singers. They’re headed straight for the stars!