As you may remember, The theme for this year in NOC Studio is “Wildness!.  So, I have to ask: What does being wild and free have to do with extensive and detailed planning? I must say it is paramount!

So, I plan. I am planning lessons, Master classes, and events for NOC Studio up to and through 2018!  In some ways this is wild and in some ways it is difficult. Studio Artists, collaborators and my administrative assistants are patiently working with me as I carve out dates for Master Classes, Skill Builder workshops, rehearsals and performance dates, and ask them:  Are you available for this date?  When do you know you have vacations in August?  What are the dates for your opera rehearsals?  And on and on.

I am discovering that it may make it easier to be wild.  Like the banks of a wild river.  It can change a bit or for a while, but it gives its own wildness form.

Busy Singers = Happy Teacher. Many of the singers who are studio artists in NOC studio have auditions and call backs.  Many have performances in opera locally and far flung across the country.  They are preparing and singing in Broadway leading roles or other obligations with upcoming performances.  They are preparing for an oratorio performance as a major soloist. In chamber music concerts they are contributing as a member of an elite ensemble, as well as solos and duets.  And along with that wonderful responsibility: many rehearsals.   Some studio artists are leading adjudications in town and out.  They are running arts programs.  They are teaching in colleges and universities and maintaining a substantial number of students.  That is not all.

What else? They have recording dates, application deadlines, performance deadlines, grant application deadlines and dates to be preparing as the conductor, a recruiter, the soloist, the flutist, the chorus member as section leader, and/ or the director, and that is not all.

Master Classes.  In order to work with repertoire that will support each artists’ goals, I am making choices.   In our Master Classes for NOC singers, we are creating a supportive community to substantially support each singer’s goals and where they are in the process.

I am setting up workshops that support these artists at various levels.  I am coordinating repertoire that is in confluence with their performance needs.  In steps where the bar becomes raised for them, they can develop in the manner they need to grow at their skill level.

JANUARY-Rick Lewis Master Class. In January we had a wild one with Rick Lewis which was so productive.  We called it:  The Audition: What works?  What doesn’t?”  Everyone learned so much and they are already reaping the rewards in their audition processes.   Who is Rick Lewis? Check him out HERE.


FEBRUARY – Workshop with Portland First Presbyterian Church. I was so fortunate to teach a masterclass with the wonderful people over at FPC up at the beautiful Menucha Retreat Center in the Gorge. What an opportunity for all of us! We talked about the magic of creating and all the ways we can use our tools to help us grow as singers. Thank you to Greg for having me there. Amazing.

MARCH-Brenda Nuckton Master Classes. On two Saturdays in March, award winning director, Brenda Nuckton is offering a workshop from an experienced director’s point of view. Who is Brenda Nuckton? Check her out HERE.

Stay tuned for a list of fabulous scenes we are preparing. Here is a hint: a trio from The Marriage of Figaro: “Susanna, non via sortite” featuring Weston Roth, baritone as our count in crisis.  Elegant and precocious soprano, Vakare Petroliunaite as our Susanna and the divine soprano, Janice Johnson as our Countess.  In contrast we will be blocking and performing the scene from Hamilton called “The Schuyler Sisters” with a full chorus.  Maria Karlin will be rapping in the scene and Laila Murphy, Lindsay Reed, and Becca Stuhlbarg will be the Schuyler sisters: Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy. Everyone else is the very rhythmic chorus!

We are working with the aria “Signore Ascolta!” from Turandot and everyone will watch as Director Nuckton works with vital soprano, Jena Viemeister as they create boundaries and physicality to the aria’s gorgeous and innate wildness.  Jena will be joined by Rebecca Stuhlbarg as Despina, Allison Knotts as Dorabella and she will sing Fiordigligi in a scene for blocking from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutti!  And then, there’s Spamalot, featuring Housing Appraisal Expert: Lori Deering Mohr as the lady who is looking for “Whatever Happened to my Part?”

Here are some of the questions we will be answering in those classes in conjunction with performing scenes in practical application. Questions for the March 18 Master Class with Brenda Nuckton:

  1.  What does a director expect of a singer in a blocking rehearsal?

  2. What basic tools does a singer need for an effective blocking rehearsal? Example: pencil, eraser, recorder, copied score for marking?

  3. Do you have any suggestions for what to wear for a blocking rehearsal?

  4. How important are organic props in a blocking rehearsal?

  5. Should the singer be memorized to block a scene?

  6. What kind of preparation and background research should a singer prepare before blocking a scene with a director?

  7. What do I need to know to be an effective part of any scene as a primary? or chorus member? A member of a small ensemble with occasional solo lines?

  8. How do you create a vivid role from a chorus role?

  9. What are some tools for creating chorus roles?

  10. How does a chorus member create focus for the primary performers?

  11. What would be “never do this!” for a chorus member?

  12. What are some important rules to know before a rehearsal?  (Besides being early)

  13. When onstage and not the primary focus, what does a singer need to know?

  14. How important is listening to other singers on the stage with you to the creation of a vital role?

  15. As a primary singer in a role, how do I remember my blocking?  What are some tools to support this from a directors’ point of view?

  16. What level of music preparation is expected from a director?

  17. What are some of the things to know about a scene that is basically a choreographed scene? How does directors’ blocking (not choreographer) fit in?

  18. How can we explore the differences in a staging an aria in a production and performing that aria an audition?

  19. How does staging/blocking that aria support an audition?

  20. What are you responsibilities as a singer in a featured scene to be as real as possible and also, be heard?

  21. How do I use my body effectively to communicate and still be seen and heard in my roles?

And so forth…Fun?  Yes.

Concerts and more, oh my. What else? We have a concert date in June.  We are planning a concert in February 2018.  We are working on Old church concert dates, and we are taking a concert to the coast.  Wild?  Absolutely!  Now, I have to get back to my crazy calendar…Stay tuned, kids.


Have a wild March, and let’s be wild together in the Spring.



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