Canadian Musicians making a mark in Italy

I came across this article by William Littler in the Toronto Star this weekend detailing how our Canadian Musicians are making a presence in Italy.  In his article he mentions St. Michael’s Choir School and their recent trip to Italy where they had the opportunity to sing for Pope Francis.  I am proud to say that not only was my son fortunate enough to have been a participant, but that I now how the privilege of working directly with some of these young gentleman at the school in my new post as Voice Instructor.

In addition, Mr. Littler mentions the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy in Sulmona.  Two of my talented young sopranos enjoyed participating in this program this past summer.  Both Loren Graziano and Orly Morgan report that it was an enriching and inspiring experience in a beautiful setting.

I am grateful for my students to be able to take advantage of these unique opportunities.  Mr. Littler also points out that increased funding of the Arts is crucial in maintaining these and future endeavours.  Canada is home to much talent and it would be a shame not to nurture and share it.

click on the above text to link to the article.

12 Signs You Were a Music Major

I came across this today and found it amusing.  Particularly as this is a busy time of year for voice teachers preparing young singers for their university and college entrance auditions.  They, too, will become immersed in this small world.  Just today I was in contact with a dear friend and colleague from my Faculty of Music days.  Paths continue to cross as we navigate life using our acquired skills in a multitude of ways.


Link to the article by clicking on the above text



Arts Funding Now

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal was brought to my attention recently.  It highlights the present state of Arts Funding and its effects on the various professional companies in North America.  Furthermore, it challenges companies to be progressively creative….to really think outside the box.   Audience numbers are down as the newer generations who have had less exposure to “high-culture” do not see the value in it.  Let’s hope that those passionate for these artistic expressions are able to welcome innovative young talent able to keep these life-enhancing genres relevant and accessible to all.

Link to the article by clicking on the above text.


Breaking Bad…an Opera?

I just read an article where I found my two worlds collide….Breaking Bad….the Opera? Seriously? ….I thought…  Upon further reflection and the reality that anything and everything seems to be being made into a musical, it stands to reason that Breaking Bad and especially since one of the final episodes is entitled, Ozymandias, would be better-suited to opera. This is, of course, in reference to a well-known poem by Shelley.  The story is similar in that it depicts a king in a desert, broken and his kingdom destroyed.  Heisenberg’s hard-earned power and accomplishments also crumbled around him. Composer Sung Jin Hong is inviting input from the musical world and viewers of the show alike.  Certainly the music for the series was carefully chosen and effective in enhancing the pace of the drama.  Of course, the staging of this epic story presents other challenges and the music and the characters will have to be larger than life in order to garner an adequate response from the audience in this homage. With few details yet to be disclosed this household will wait with anticipation and a tad bit of skepticism….

Breaking Bad – Ozymandias will premiere as part of the One World Symphony’s Addiction concert series in New York in January 2014.

The Benefits of Singing

There are many benefits to singing alone and with others. Among these are emotional, physical and social. While it may be true that one does not have to be particularly good at it to reap many of the benefits, with proper training one can fully realize their true potential. The pleasure of improving, alone, would enhance the experience.

The mere fact the one must take the time to practice deep abdominal breathing presents immediate benefits. Read the following article to discover the specifics…it is fascinating!  I consider myself very fortunate to spend much of my day teaching others how to breathe deeply as it allows me to do so too.

In addition, learning to sing presents the opportunity to address posture. As the body is the instrument and proper alignment is crucial, it is a must. As the singer develops, the muscles of the back and core strengthen to support the improved upright, yet free, posture. With improved posture comes a stronger, more confident presence and sense of well-being.

Of course, one cannot ignore the ability to speak more clearly (all that work on diction was not wasted!) and with increased presence. This can allow previously shy individuals to feel more confident in job interview situations or public speaking – students and professionals alike.

The therapeutic aspect of singing is not to be ignored. With the releasing of endorphins, it is believed to reduce anger, anxiety and depression too. It can be uplifting and energizing. In addition, one must address and develop their ability to express emotions and communicate the text with their whole being.

Try it out for yourself!

Canadian Opera Enthusiasts Mourn

We have lost a formidable presence in the music world.  Lofti Mansouri died in his home in San Francisco on Friday, August 30th of complications due to his pancreatic cancer.  In Toronto, we are grateful for having had his influence at the Canadian Opera Company from 1976 to 1988.  He is responsible for establishing the COC chorus, the COC Ensemble Studio program and, most notably, the use of surtitles; the latter adopted internationally as a means to reach a wider audience.  This arrived from the belief that opera should not be elitist, but enjoyed by the masses. Although he went on to work for the San Francisco Opera Company for 13 years, in Canada his indelible influence will be felt and appreciated for years to come.

19 different divas

I was doing some research last night and stumbled across this video. I’ve always admired Kristin Chenoweth so I gave it a view. The performer is singing impressionist Christina Bianco. She did an admirable job jumping from style to style. I thought it was worthy enough to post here.
Style is obviously a personal thing and it’s difficult to say what Christina’s own style would sound like, but certainly knowing the fundamentals is the key before attempting what Christina has in this video.


Christina Bianco.

Cantare Studio Norma Churchill Spring Recital photos

Here are a few photos from the Cantare Studio Spring Vocal Recital. Thank you to everyone who came and performed and demonstrated all their hard work and talent.