What type of clinician would you like SNATS to provide in Spring 2018?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last friendly reminder

Folks, your listening assignments are due by 5pm tomorrow (jury day). Be sure you have your four hours of listening noted in your journal. You may paste YouTube links, or simply note CDs with singer, conductor, title, etc. Be sure your listening totals four hours or more, and describe what you listened to. This is not a formal essay: short notes regarding what you heard and how you learned from it is all that is expected. I hope you enjoyed this part of your semester assignment: if you didn't, let's talk. Break a leg tomorrow in juries, and know that we're looking forward to your singing.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Listening assignments

Darling voice students, remember that you are each required to listen to four hours total of classical singing this (and every) semester. Those of you who have posted YouTube links on your Google doc, thank you. Those of you who were at SNATS meetings when we watched The Audition, please email me to remind me how many hours you were there. Those of you who were at my Convocation get 45 minutes toward your listening assignment (I'll check attendance: feel free to email me if you'd like to be sure I know you were there). Those of you who would like a listening day one week from today on "dead day," please post here and indicate what time would work for you. I would be willing to do one hour, maybe two.

Remember that if you're singing an aria from an opera this semester, a great way to get at least some of your listening done is to listen to the whole opera, score or libretto in hand! It also helps you get a fuller sense of your character.

I'll see all of you at Callie and Micah's Excellent Adventure tonight. Love y'all madly!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

UAB wins second place at NOA

Congratulations to the 2011 cast of Amahl and the Night Visitors: you placed second in the National Opera Association opera production competition! It was truly a dream cast, and I'm truly proud of all of you. Bravi tutti!

NO viewing of WIDOW DVD today

Folks, we'll meet NEXT Tuesday (not today) at 3:30 to watch the DVD. See you in Hulsey Recital Hall for our last hurrah!

Monday, November 26, 2012

WIDOW DVD viewing

Darlings, the earliest we can watch a DVD tomorrow is 4:30. Please post here if that works for you, or if you'd rather wait till next Tuesday (Thursday this week is out, after all). Thanks!

Monday, November 19, 2012

WIDOW cast: From Les


We'll meet today at 3:30 to load the van and truck. Please spread the word!

This email arrived today from Les:

Thank you so much for the sweet notes and many kind words, but please don't forget that it was you who did the truly "heavy lifting" to make this production such a success. Beginning with your earnest study of the music back in August through your constant refinements in dialogue, timing, dancing and characterizations, you made this a show for everyone to love. In so many ways, comic opera is much harder to pull off than drama, and a good deal of that is the right sense of timing: your timing was razor sharp, which was confirmed by the energy of the audience reaction, particularly on Saturday night. Equally important, though, was your perseverance in musical preparation. While we had a few moments that were somewhat disconnected, it never felt as though we were headed for a "train wreck," because even when my focus had to leave the stage to deal with an ensemble difficulty in the orchestra, your consistently solid preparation made it possible for us to quickly find a convenient meeting place in the music. My heartfelt thanks to you all for allowing me to be a happy traveler on another wild and wonderful ride! Have safe and Happy Holidays.



Congratulations, WIDOW folks!

Darling students,

As the post-performance glow and fatigue start to fade, I wanted to tell you again how proud I am of all of you. You put on two very entertaining shows this past weekend, and the second was even stronger than the first. You followed direction and filled the stage more beautifully on closing night, and it made a real difference not only visually, but it really helped your voices carry into the house in dialogue and in the musical numbers. You incorporated many of the final details I asked, and I applaud you.

It was gratifying to see you grow in your characters: every single one of you made strong choices. During the group scenes, it was wonderful to see each of you developing very clear, personal stories with each other. People I was sitting next to were commenting on how interesting each of those scenes were because of it! Some people noted the marital spats, some the flirting, some noticed the rock/paper/scissors bit...all of you were interesting and committed, and that's one of the most important aspects of theatre. Your gorgeous ensemble singing was also noted by some who grew up going to concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, so that's high praise!

One of the most beautiful things in this show, though, was your spirit and the camaraderie you developed in the last days of the show. It truly warmed my heart to see you all hugging backstage after the show, helping each other with makeup, and working as an absolute team through the scene shifts. Even the final whoop of triumph when the last score was erased was an indication that you were all in this together, and that, my friends, is what it's all about. I loved that there was no complaining about the final requirements of a show...some people do bellyache about it, and they miss out when they don't realize that it's all part of the process. You embraced it all, and I love you for it.

Thank you very much for the many cards, chocolates, and flowers. You have no idea how much they mean to me, and I cherish each and every one (and I keep all of them. But not the chocolate...that's rapidly disappearing!). I will pass along your cards to Julia and Joe, and am glad and touched that you included them in your thanks.

I am grateful to have walked this path with you. Thank you for stretching beyond your comfort zones, for working as hard as you did with such delightful energy, and for being the beautiful people that you are. Stay tuned for the DVD viewing day, which will be sometime after Thanksgiving. I know that, at my table this year, I'll be giving thanks for you.

Love y'all madly!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kudos for WIDOW cast

Folks, the emails started arriving less than an hour after the show closed. Here's one from Dr. Kasman (a pretty tough critic, so this is high praise):

You have done a fantastic job! Great production! Fun and professional. Congratulations!

From a friend of mine who has been coming for three years:

That was a blast - the kids' enjoyment of what they were doing was evident.  Very polished production. Loved it :-) 

And from our interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences:

Delightful! Please congratulate the cast for me.

I'll write you a love note of my own to you soon...right now, I'm reveling in the joy that was working with you. Happy Sunday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bravi, WIDOW cast members!

Folks, I was so proud of you last night. The show had many wonderful moments comically, dramatically, and vocally. Your energy and professionalism were right where they should be. The scene change before Act 3 was seamless and timed out perfectly. A solid, successful premiere!

As always, there are things you can do to make the next performance even better. Your job is to take tomorrow night to the next level. Here are some thoughts:

Diction, diction, diction. There were folks in the audience who said they felt like they missed 60% of the jokes because they couldn't quite hear you or couldn't understand you. This is especially true in dialogue and sung solo lines. Project every word and overdo consonants, especially finals. This is not a new idea! Chorus, you're generally fine, but don't get lazy.

Everyone, really watch Les. There were a few moments when your fabulous energy was pushing the orchestra. Enjoy every moment, rather than rushing through it.

Remember to hit your marks: don't do anything new. You want to be predictable in terms of where you go and when, but absolutely fresh in terms of how you listen and react as if it's the first time. If I've told someone to do something specific because it's great, don't try to copy it: imitation on stage doesn't work. Be your unique selves with choices that are yours.

Solo folks, sing with your fullest sound and most active diction. The orchestra is still loud at times, and we need to hear you. Don't push, but please don't hold back: give 100% energy.

We'll allow for applause at moments where you seemed eager to go on, but the audience wanted to show its appreciation. Les will allow for applause after "Vilja," so watch for the chorus cue afterward. Njegus, please allow for applause after Camille and Valencienne go into the pavilion. There may be other places: be flexible, and we'll discuss tomorrow. This is a lovely problem to have, folks!

Ladies, please bring an extra pair of stockings. If yours tear, we can't have knee-highs on stage. Ladies of color, you can go without stockings. Remember to cross your legs at the ankles, not at the knees.

Gregg, slow down your dialogue and enunciate, especially in Act One. You're too good for us not to understand every word.

Njegus, speak EVERY line at the level of "well, perhaps initially..." (except the whispered line, of course). We don't want to miss one syllable, and now that I've heard you really project your text, I won't settle for less!

Jake, watch Les in the Act 2 finale during rant #2. You had the same problem as usual when under stress. Count and watch Les.

Men in "Girls," you stole the show! Bravi. Grisettes, you were great, but you can do the same thing if you step it up a notch. Keep the energy up and let each entrance top the previous one in terms of your energy. Remember to get your faces out! See if you can match the height of your leg kicks in the kickline. Try not to stomp when you get energetic (you know who you are).

In general, the cast as a whole was too far upstage, and this was more apparent last night than in rehearsal. I was sitting in the balcony in the final dress as well as last night, and saw many more empty pools of light downstage last night. It seemed like you were unconsciously hiding from the audience! Remember to fill in all the spaces of the stage, including downstage. This is especially important if you have solo lines in big group scenes: Les is doing his best to hold down the volume of the orchestra, but the further upstage you go, the more your sound disappears. Get downstage so your voices can get out into the house.

More joy at the close of Act 3! I've given Han and Dan permission for one more kiss at the end: everyone else, really congratulate them, celebrate your own reconciled marriage, etc. The stage should be full of all sorts of fireworks.

Zeta, Val, and Camille, take time in bows. Men, each of you bow separately, trying to one-up each other. Then both of you remember to gesture for Val's bow simultaneously, let her bow, then do the bit with her choosing Zeta.

Rest up tonight. Know that I love each and every one of you madly, and am wildly proud of how far you've come.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Final dress tonight

Darlings, you were real pros yesterday. Thank you for your work on and backstage. Let's aim for the quickest scene change possible between Acts 2 and 3 today, just to see if we can do it without an intermission. If we can trim it to 5 minutes, I think we can keep the audience in their seats.

Remember all costume pieces, right down to your undergarments and socks. Final photos are today. See you 4:30 call time! Love y'all madly.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tuesday piano dress

1pm call. Bring your stuff, all of it: shirts, tuxes, shoes, stockings or socks, Spanx, makeup, etc. Remember this is a photo shoot as well as a dress rehearsal. And as always, don't forget your good attitudes! Thanks for all you did tonight: you were fabulously helpful and rocked on the scene shifts. Sleep well, and see you tomorrow.

Tuxes tonight: 5pm call

Guys, remember your tuxes and shoes tonight! 5pm call for all. I reminded BK of your absences this week, and he assured me you are all excused. See you at 5!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Costumes today! Really.

Folks, as soon as you're back from Montgomery, come get fitted if you have not already. Amanda is feeling better and will be in the dressing rooms next to the stage in Sirote. Please do this before we begin at 3:30 today. Bring your tuxes, guys. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A few things: WIDOW cast

Costume update: Amanda got off work tomorrow, so she will be in my office starting at 1 Wednesday. If you can, stop in tomorrow afternoon to get fitted.

Also, someone left a tux in a heap on the floor in Sirote. I assume you'll need it for Thursday's performance, so you might want to go get it. As promised, I did NOT clean up after you.

Nice work today, folks!

Costume fittings today: time change!

Folks, Amanda is here today UNTIL 1:00, not starting at 1. If you can come by my office between now and then, that would be wonderful. Apologies for the miscommunication!

Thought for the day

"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day."
Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Marie Rilke

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rehearsal this week

We're in the final stretch! Now is the time to think like a marathon runner: pace yourselves, be smart, and stay focused. The plan this week is as follows:

Thursday, we'll pick up where we left off Tuesday and finish the show. 3:30-6:30 pm.

Friday will be another run-through, beginning at 2:30. If we need to stay past 5:30, we will, as it will be our last rehearsal before the orchestra arrives.

Saturday is a cue-to-cue, no singing, but dancing included. No white shirts or things with logos. This is a day to bring patience: it's a lot of standing around, listening carefully for cues to move, and staying in character when you start to feel tired. There will be a lunch break: plan to go somewhere FAST (not Al's, please: every year we do this and every year you are LATE returning! Pick somewhere else, something fast, or order pizza. Thanks.).

Sunday is a Sitzprobe with the orchestra: sing through the show without blocking. Be early, warmed up, and in your seats by 1:45 for a 2pm downbeat. Bring your scores.

Monday is a Wandelprobe with orchestra, 7pm downbeat. Do the show in costume pieces as needed (shoes, jackets if needed to props, etc.) but not full costume or makeup. Be here no later than 6:30 to be ready to begin at 7pm.

Tuesday's piano dress is in costume and makeup, and will include a photo shoot. Downbeat is 3:30 sharp so you have time to eat before Dr. Mosteller's and Dr. Kasman's recital at 7pm. Be ready, be gorgeous, and put on a real performance. Plan ahead for makeup so there isn't a long line for Joe.

Wednesday's final dress rehearsal with the orchestra is also a photo shoot. 7pm downbeat: the dressing rooms will be open at 5:30. Ditto on last night's notes re: makeup.

Thursday's and Saturday's performances are at 7:30 pm. Dressing rooms will be open at 5:30. Everyone is entitled to TWO comp tickets, which you can claim at the box office.

You know the drill: get enough sleep, take your vitamins, eat well, wear deodorant, and wash your hands often. And as I said last night, now is the time to be kind to one another. Remember that tempers are short and we're all stressed. Leave any diva attitude at the door, and keep the drama on the stage.

And remember that I love y'all MADLY.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rehearsal today

Today we'll walk the whole show from 2:30-3:30.
(Houston leaves at 2:50 for one hour, John arrive no later than 3:15, Nole will try to come for this hour if possible. No other surprises, please.) The rest of the day is as follows:

3:30-3:40 Ella and Jake dance only
3:40-4 Act I finale dance only (4 couples: replace Misha/Mike with Zeta/Courtney)
4-4:15 Act II opening dance only (3 couples)
4:15-4:45 Grisettes
4:45-5:30 men in #9 musical number
5:30-6 All of Han and Dan's dancing, to clarify differences between songs

Everyone, please be a few minutes early to the dance portions. Of we run early, we'll start early: if not, you'll be there early enough to walk through steps in the shop or green room. Thanks.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Opera announcements, again

Thank you for your character sheets! Many were very fine and all were enjoyable. The most in-depth, creative, and entertaining award goes to GREG PAYNE, who went all out. Bravo, Greg!

Note the times for the next two days: we're starting a bit later on Friday to accommodate Julia's schedule, since it's a dance rehearsal only. I'll post who/what after tomorrow's run-through. Review everything...we're two weeks and counting! Be solid.

3:30-6:30 Slog through the entire show: all called. Please be there for the whole time if you can: excuse forms are provided. If your profs will let you out of your classes without penalty, please be there.

3:30-6:30 Dance rehearsal only: TBA numbers and times. (NO LES TODAY)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Opera announcements

Folks, two of you left your WIDOW scores in the theatre. PLEASE be sure to take everything with you when you leave the theatre: we can't be picking up after you, and you can't rely on the possibility that your possessions will still be there next time  you come. I have Greg's and (I believe) Ella's folders. Stop in Monday morning to get them.

Monday rehearsal time is 5:30-8:30. Email me to remind me of your class conflicts: I'll plan on having full cast no earlier than 6:30.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Character sheets due next Tuesday

Folks, we started talking character early in the semester in our large group, and have continued to address questions throughout the rehearsal process. Now it's time to really commit. Everyone in the cast is required to complete this form https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nZwKcw6mAIeC-himBYknDQBwkf4DVf-rDFfMqjjKnV8/edit by midnight Tuesday. Email it to me so it has your date stamp, either with the text in the body of the email or as an attachment. Plan ahead and give it real thought: you have all weekend! This is part of your grade: no late forms will be accepted.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Facials with Joe Hardy!

Folks, Joe has offered to give $15 facials to each of you in preparation for stage makeup. He normally charges $45. Of course this is not required of you by any means, but it's a very generous offer on his part. He is available to do them during the first part of rehearsal tomorrow, when most of you aren't called (5:30-7). There will be other times offered in the future if that doesn't work for you. Please comment here if you'd like to start discussing alternate times, and I'll coordinate with him. If you're interested, please email him at josephlhardy@gmail.com. Thanks!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Voice recital Sunday at 3

Darling students, I'll be in my office by 1pm if you would like me to warm you up for the 3pm recital. Don't feel obligated to use me, but you wish, come early enough so there isn't a stampede at 2:30. Be sure you are in the building by 2:30 and at least knock on my door to let me know you are here. Notes will be emailed to all of you tomorrow morning.

Here are the guidelines we passed out yesterday, along with a few new thoughts for the recital day itself: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NOmg04fUCUQ4ET8kvGQBLomKctxG-4N4NNv2Tf-0zOc/edit

Thanks, and break a leg!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

UAB SNATS health breaks

I'll lead a Yoga class this coming Wednesday 10/24 at 4:30, and the following Monday, Callie's friend will be leading a Zumba class! Bring your mats and exercise wear: we'll meet in the dance studio. For yoga, anyone is welcome to come and meditate if you need some time to just...be. Sorry for the time change: can't do this Monday after all due to opera. More later, though, I promise!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trouble with calendar?

If you're having trouble viewing the calendar (and I don't know why it's giving some of you problems: it looks the same as always on my end), here's the schedule for the week:


3:30-4 Joe Hardy gives a makeup lesson! All called: bring anything you already own (sponges/wedges, makeup base, etc. Don't buy anything new: bring what you have.)
4-4:40 finish #3: Hanna and men
4:45-5:30 block dialogue pp. 38-39 (Dan, Olga, Sylvaine, Praskowia, Cascada, St. B, Kromov, Bog, Pritsch, Zeta. We'll start at the end to be sure we get the guy's parts done.)
5:30-6:30 Cam and Valencienne block #11
5:30-6:30 dance rehearsal: Hanna and Danilo


3:30-5:30 block Act II finale (Han, Dan, Cam, Val, Zeta, Njeg until 4: all called starting at 4)
5:30-6:30 block dialogue pp. 45-6 and pp. 70-1 (with duet following): Han and Dan


2:30-3:30 block last scene: all called
3:30-5:30 finish anything we haven't touched including dialogue p. 35 (top: Zeta, Njeg, Han and Dan): possible dance rehearsal

Opera this week

Darlings, this week we finish blocking the opera. Remember that your off-book deadline is a week from tomorrow, October 22. That's also the first day in the theatre, and we'll start filling in any gaps with choreography, deeper character work, etc. Please know that I won't expect perfection on that first day. If, however, it's clear you have NO idea where to go and what you're supposed to be singing, and if you're still singing wrong notes, you WILL be penalized in your final grade. Check blocking now if you're confused. Fix any wrong notes. Don't miss rehearsal. Plan ahead!

And remember that I push you so that you will succeed. Love y'all madly...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Opera Rehearsal

Folks, please check the schedule for today's call. We'll take it very easy today...little singing, mostly dialogue and "traffic" (who goes where and when). Thanks for your work last night!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Opera notes

Hi folks, thanks so much for your work today. I hope you had as much fun as I did! You're on the way to creating a lot of interest on stage, and I commend you on your energy, flexibility, and willingness to work. Keep it up!

I forgot to mention that you are all hereby allowed to have haircuts. In fact, you are encouraged to do so before Tuesday's choir concert! Our 1950s dress for the opera will work just fine with modern hair, and I'd actually like to see your haircuts within a week so no one looks freshly snipped come opening night.

Remember that rehearsal begins at 5:30 Monday night. Only Emma and Mike are excused until they get out of class: everyone else, you've indicated that time is free so you're expected to be there. We should have an hour to eat after the dress rehearsal, and if time gets tight between rehearsals, just grab a sandwich or something and I'll give you break time to eat. I'd rather start on time no matter what and give you a break, than start late and end late.

Love y'all madly!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Question of the Day

Is there anything I am doing, consciously or unconsciously, that is unwanted or unneeded?

This was the question that Jim Brody suggested we ask ourselves during our constructive rest. I confess it's a question that can and has been useful to me throughout the day, not just during my rest. Unwanted? Biting my lip when I'm stressed. Unneeded? Clenching my right thumb when I type. Unwanted? Stressing over things I can't control. Unneeded? That half a candy bar I ate last night when I was already full. The list is actually pretty long, and can extend to unhelpful thought patterns. But I can change them...both my thoughts and my actions.

Asking and answering the question can a gold mine of discovery if you can look at it that way.

Next SNATS meeting 10/17

Folks, with Fall Break and my recital travels coming up, our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 17 at 4:30. If you can look into sponsors for our T-shirts over break, that might give us a starting place for our meeting. I'll have something for our listening/viewing pleasure, but let's be sure to do some quick business too. As always, feel free to bring your lunch/dinner or let me know if you want to dip into SNATS savings for pizza. We certainly have $20 for that if you want! Spread the word.

Enjoy the fall weather...I sure am!

Monday, October 1, 2012

SNATS bake sale tomorrow

Our bake sale will be tomorrow, Tuesday October 2. Check out the Facebook event and sign up to either bake something or work the table! Thanks.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gahhhh...opera schedule change AGAIN!

Folks, more things have changed today, necessitating ANOTHER change to today's rehearsal. We'll have dance rehearsal for everyone 3:30-5:30, and duets starting at 5:30. Check the schedule. SO SORRY for the changes...been a tough week for many of us.

Opera schedule change

Folks, the memorial service/funeral that takes Zeta out of town today has altered the schedule (it's not at 12 as he'd thought; it's at 2). I've made changes for everyone's benefit. Check the schedule: this is an opportunity for you to fix anything that is insecure. BONUS: Les plans to be here!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Alexander Technique: Intention

To sum up Professor Brody's speech about intention at the end of his master class:

1. I know what I want...
2. ...and I really want it.
3. I understand what I can do NOW... (I may not be able to do it all YET...)
4. ...and I'm willing to organize my thinking and my actions to get it.

How we choose to use ourselves determines our quality of life, short and long-term. This can mean how we sit, what we eat or drink (and when), how we breathe to sing or play, how we choose to reach for something, how we get in and out of a chair...the list goes on and on.

Live with this and see what happens! Remember that we all slide backward from time to time: it's part of being human. The key is to get back on course when we do.

SNATS meeting today!

We'll meet today after choir to discuss fundraisers and finish watching THE AUDITION. Be there!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alexander Technique Events at UAB

We are fortunate to have James Brody, certified Alexander Teacher (and my personal AT guru) join us for three days of Alexander Technique events. We begin with a Convocation on Wednesday 9/19 from 12:20-1:10 in Hulsey Recital Hall. This presentation will introduce you to the Technique, and give you a better understanding of how your body can work for you or against you in your music-making (and in your life). On Thursday 9/20 from 3:30-6:30 in Hulsey 308, Jim will lead the opera workshop class and any other interested participants in how to rehearse more effectively. This workshop/master class promises to be both fun and informative. We conclude the week with a master class featuring UAB vocal students on Friday 9/21 from 12:20-1:10 in Hulsey Recital Hall. All events are free and open to the public. Jointly sponsored by SNATS at UAB (through USGA) and Jemison Funds.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Required Convocation this week

Jim Brody's convocation on the Alexander Technique is required for all voice students of mine! Be there even if you're not registered for PA...I will take attendance, and you'll love it! Jim is fabulous.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Opera rehearsal change for tomorrow

Folks, please note the change for the 5:30 hour tomorrow: anyone who has dialogue, p;lease come for that hour. Thanks!

Monday, September 10, 2012

THE AUDITION viewing continues today

We'll continue watching THE AUDITION today at 4:30 in the conference room. Feel free to bring your dinner!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Is college worth it?

Food for thought from Bruce Benson, President of CU-Boulder:

As students stream back to our campuses for fall semester, they do so accompanied by a question that is increasing in volume across the country: Is a college education still worth it?

Those questioning the value of college point out the increasing costs, the student debt loads, whether skills are marketable and preparation is practical. Many advocate an increasing focus on trade schools or community colleges, or no college at all.

The questions are fair, but to me the answer is clear. A college education by any measure is perhaps the best investment a person will make for reasons both tangible and intangible.

Increasing costs lead many to look at paying for college much the same way as they view buying a car. There's a high sticker price that is usually discounted, but it still requires years of payment. Meanwhile, the car steadily depreciates. I would suggest a better analogy is a mortgage. People invest in a house that provides them a comfortable place to live over their lives while also serving as a substantial investment, one that appreciates over the long haul. A college education is the same. It is certainly a cost, but more so, it is an investment that pays dividends during a lifetime, even considering debt.

The average debt load upon graduation at CU-Boulder is $23,125 and UCCS is $22,703, below the national average of $25,250 and the Colorado average of $23,622. CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus combine student debt averages, which at $26,170 is slightly higher due to higher tuition of students studying for careers in medicine. Default rates across CU are 3.4 percent, well below the Colorado average of 11.5 percent and the national average of 8.8 percent.

Consider the workforce graduates are entering. Critics argue that recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed in great numbers. While true, nearly everyone is affected by the recession, college graduates included. Yet even those who recently earned degrees have fared better during the recession (and certainly did before) than those without a degree.

A recent study by Georgetown University (The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm) shows that a large majority of jobs lost during the recession were those held by workers with a high school diploma or less. While unemployment for all four-year college graduates is 4.5 percent, it is 6.8 percent for recent graduates (those 21-25 years old). At the same time, unemployment for recent high school graduates is nearly 24 percent. Regarding underemployment, the study shows one in seven college graduates was underemployed in May 2012. Nearly half of high school graduates were. Nearly four of every five jobs lost during the recession were held by those with a high school diploma or less.

Various statistics, including those from the U.S. Census Bureau, have shown throughout the years that four-year college graduates earn more than a million dollars more over their lifetimes than those with a high school diploma or less. Critics would say those earnings are skewed by certain high-earning fields such as engineering or business. While we certainly need to ensure our graduates are prepared for productive careers, you cannot underestimate the value of critical thinking, a broad outlook and communication skills in any endeavor. Universities provide those.

Additionally, statistics don't convey the intangibles of a college education. College graduates have more opportunities during their lifetimes, engage in civic and community life at greater rates, and are generally healthier.
While society certainly needs tradespeople, our country's recovery from the recession and future prosperity will rely on the highly skilled workforce prepared at places such as CU.

For more than a century, higher education has been the engine that has fueled American prosperity. It remains critical to the economy, health and culture of our state and nation. So for those joining us as freshmen this fall, or those graduating and entering the workforce later this year, a college education will prove to be a worthy investment.

Monday, September 3, 2012

WIDOW schedule changes

Folks, I just got an email from our choreographer, Julia, that required me to make last minute changes to the schedule. Please check tomorrow and Friday's schedule CAREFULLY, as I had to switch things around according to her availability! Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

WIDOW calendar

The production calendar for the week has been posted below, with more to follow soon. To find when you're needed, scroll all the way down to the Google calendar, select each opera rehearsal day, and read carefully to see when you're called. Check page numbers in your score to be sure. I've noted where folks who have classes cannot be there: if I've missed you, please email me.

You'll notice we're working fairly quickly. It's my hope to give everyone a day off fairly soon, but you have to EARN it by being prepared for rehearsal. Spend a little time speaking rhythmically through your part, listening to the show, and plunking your notes before coming in. 

For dance rehearsals, please wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes, but not something with rubber soles if at all possible. Be ready for some FUN and a little but of sweat!

One last friendly reminder: if you are confused about whether or not you're needed, talk to me. Do not talk to your friends. If you are at all uncertain, come to rehearsal anyway! It's easier to let you go if you're not needed than to try to track you down.

Have a great holiday weekend, and remember I love y'all madly.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SNATS DVD viewing

By popular demand, we'll watch THE AUDITION again during our SNATS time. We meet Wednesday, September 5 at 4:30 in the conference room. PIZZA provided!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

WIDOW schedule posted

Folks, the schedule for MERRY WIDOW is posted on the Google calendar...for this week. I will be able to schedule further out once I meet with our choreographer on Tuesday and once I see how quickly you can work. To see schedule details, scroll ALL the way down on this page until you see the Google calendar. Click on each event marked "opera rehearsal," then click "more details."

Please, please, please double check the page numbers in your score to be sure whether you are needed. If you are confused, DO NOT ask your friends to clarify: ASK ME! You may call, text, or email me if you are not sure if you're needed. If I've scheduled you during a time when you have class or another commitment you've told me you have, please do not fret...I'm not expecting you to skip a class. There are a few people who overlap there unavailable times, and we'll work around it.

Johnathan and Emily, please see me on Monday to get your score.

Everyone, please look at the music for a few minutes before coming into rehearsal. Preparation on your part before we meet makes for a quicker rehearsal and happier colleagues.

We're off to a great start! Friday's rehearsal was a lot of fun. You'll notice that this Friday is a shorter rehearsal for a variety of reasons...enjoy the extra time and have a safe Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Next SNATS meeting

Great first meeting, folks. Next week, we'll meet in the dance studio and do some yoga! Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to stretch, and a yoga mat or towel. If you're curious or nervous about doing yoga, just come and chill out and listen to my new age music and you'll find it's not so scary. Everything can be modified, and you can even just lie there and meditate if you want. We'll elect officers first, so please come even if you don't want to do yoga or meditate. Thanks!

MERRY WIDOW cast list


Cast List

Hannah Glawari
Mary Katherine Whatley
Danilo Danilowitsch
Jake Preston Hemminger
Shane Bloemetjie
Gregg Stuart
Valencienne, his wife
Valencia Callens*
Dominique Hector
St. Brioche
Gregory Payne
Nole Jones
Houston Giles
Olga, his wife
Caryanne Swindal
Reginald Melton
Sylvaine, his wife
Ariel Reid
Johnathan McNear
Praskowia, his wife
Ella Smitherman

(please note that folks with named roles sing chorus as well.)

Leah Eiland
Caryanne Swindal*
Corey Griffin
Johnathan McNear
Ariel Reid
Misha Vernon*
Reginald Melton
Gregory Payne
Michele McIver*
Kenya Thomas
Houston Giles
Dominique Hector
Cindy Spellman
Ella Smitherman*

Nole Jones
Emily McGrath*
Courtney Cooper*

*denotes will also sing roles of “Grisettes,” or dancing girls in Act 3

We will all meet tomorrow (Thursday) from 3:30-6:30 in the choir room for costume measurements and a sing-through / listen-through. You will receive your scores then. If you have class during any part of tomorrow, come when you can, as we’ll be solidifying schedule for the coming semester during that time.


Thank you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

MERRY WIDOW callbacks

EmKay, Jake, Shane, and Valencia: you already have your music for tomorrow. Nole Jones, Casey Roberts, and Greg Payne: please see me for some short excerpts to learn for tomorrow. EVERYONE ELSE: there is still time to audition! Roles are still open. Come to the choir room Tuesday at 3:30 to audition. See you then!

SNATS meeting today

First meeting is today at 4:30 in the conference room. We'll vote on officers , activities, etc. Spread the word! We have MONEY TO SPEND, so let's spend it!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Opera & Choir Picnic Cancelled

The storms look like they'll continue through tomorrow. Sorry to say our picnic is canceled...we'll try to reschedule after Labor Day.

More singers needed for WIDOW

Folks, we had some great auditions for MERRY WIDOW yesterday, but we still need more singers for the chorus, especially men! We'll hold additional auditions on Tuesday from 3:30-5:30 (Hulsey 308). This is a great opportunity to do a fun show, and very low-stress, low time commitment. Don't miss it!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dr. Kris Lesson Schedule

Lessons begin Monday! Have something learned and ready to work by your first lesson. If you wish to come five minutes early, I can teach you how to do constructive rest. Performance Class meets every Friday at 12:20, and everyone is required to be there each week. Times are as follows:

EmKay 10:10-11
Shane 12:20-1:10
Amanda 1:25-1:55

Nole 11:15-12:05
Valencia 1:25-2:15

Callie 11-11:50
Ariel 12-12:50
Jake 1-1:50

Charles 11:15-12:05
Performance Class 12:20-1:10

Thursday, August 16, 2012

MERRY WIDOW auditions Friday

Sign up for a time on my door, Hulsey 249. Sing anything--aria, musical theatre song, choir tune, the national anthem. C'mon, you know you wanna!

UAB Opera Picnic at Oak Mountain

It's that time...let's get together at Oak Mountain, kayak, swim, and eat more food than should be legal! We'll start at 2pm on Sunday, August 19 (yes, that's THIS SUNDAY) and eat and play until we're full or exhausted or both. Joe and I will bring the charcoal, hotdogs, kayaks, and other games. Sign-ups for other food will be on the Facebook event page. Anyone who has been part of a UAB opera or the choir...or wants to!...is welcome. Invite your friends!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Free pizza!

In case you missed this in GreenMail, the UAB Student Alumni Society invites all students to the Alumni House for free pizza from 11:30 to 2:30 Thursday, Aug. 16. Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

WIDOW auditions in one week!

Opera auditions are one week from today, August 17 from 2-5 in the choral room (Hulsey 308). Looking forward to seeing everyone in class Thursday, August 16 at 3:30. If you're even remotely curious, come to class! We'll meet in the choral room. Bring your audition piece if you want to test it out before the big day. Wear comfortable clothes...we'll play some games too.

Friday, August 3, 2012

More info on MERRY WIDOW

    HANNA (Madame Glavari) - "The Merry Widow". Young, pretty, vivacious, all the title implies. High soprano: low B flat to top B flat with optional C
    DANILO (Count Danilovitsch) - aristocratic playboy-attaché at the Pontevedrian Embassy in Paris. Cheerful, debonair, irresponsible, very attractive to the ladies - of whose company, along with his wine, he is extremely fond. High baritone: low A to top F.
    BARON ZETA - Pontevedrian Ambassador in Paris. Middle-aged: a little pompous, comic when he is trying to be a dutiful official, a bit of an old rogue but very likeable; over confident of his wife's virtues. Baritone: low A to top E, with optional F.
    VALENCIENNE (Baroness Zeta) - the Ambassador's rather foolish but would-be-faithful wife. Naïvely amorous, she lacks the courage to stray from the straight and narrow path, but cannot bring herself effectively to dismiss the young man who tempts her from it. Soprano: low B flat to top B flat.
    CAMILLE (Count de Rosillon) - the ardent young Frenchman in love with Valencienne. Light tenor: middle C to A flat, with optional B flat.
    NJEGUS - Baron Zeta's Factotum. Sly; amusing; a "character". Baritone: low B flat to top B flat.
    ST BRIOCHE and CASCADA - two diplomatic guests at the Embassy. Though entangled with married ladies, they are rivals for the hand of the Widow. They are both conceited, shallow and rather ridiculous. Baritones: St Brioche, low D to top F; Cascada, middle C to top F.
    KROMOV - an attaché who is forever nagging his wife for flirting; self-important, with an absurdly over-punctilious manner. Baritone: low B flat to top E flat.
    OLGA - wife of Kromov. Contralto: low D to top E flat.
    BOGDANOVITSCH and PRITSCH - attachés at the Embassy. Baritones: middle C to top E flat.
    SYLVIA and PRASKOVIA - lady guests at the Embassy. Sylvia mezzo-soprano: D to top A flat:
    PRASKOVIA, contralto: D to D.
•  LOLO, DODO, JOU-JOU, FROU-FROU, CLO-CLO, MARGOT - "grisettes" at Maxim's - soubrettes: middle C to top F.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Voice Repertoire Assignments

Dear Dr. Kris Voice Students:

Following are ideas for repertoire for you. Feel free to ask questions, find other (similar) pieces, and do let me know if you absolutely don't like one of the pieces I've chosen for you. Life is too short to sing music you don't enjoy! You do not have to learn everything this semester, but have at least one piece learned well enough to begin work by Monday, August 20. Do not arrive to your first full lesson without something prepared.

Semester lesson times will be set by then. We will ALL meet during the first noon convocation on Wednesday, August 15, and at that time everyone will sign up for a half hour lesson for that week. Please bring your class schedule to that meeting, or even better, put it in the envelope on my door before then!

Any of the Mahler songs from a year ago
Anything from RVW's "The House of Life"
Bernstein's "To what you said" (from SONGFEST)
Faure's "Au cimitiere" or "Au bord de l'eau"
Anything from DICHTERLIEBE
Korngold's "Liebesbriefchen"
Hamlet - "O vin, dissipe la tristesse"
Traviata - "Di provenza il mar"
Faust - "Avant de quitter ces lieux"

R. Strauss "Allerseelen," "Caecilie" or "Wir sollten wit geheim," "Der Nachtgang"
Faure: POEME D'UN JOUR: "Rencontre," "Toujours," "Adieu"
Argento SIX ELIZABETHAN SONGS: learn the rest!
Nemorino and Tonio's arias

Purcell's "I'll Sail Upon the Dog-star"
Faure: "Sylvie," "Nell"
Handel's "Comfort Ye"
More Semele arias...we'll talk
Mozart: "Un' aura amorosa" or "Dies Bildnis"
Heggie: "Friendly Persuasions"

Faure's "Chanson d'amour"
Ricky Ian Gordon: "My Special Picnic"
Schubert: "Rastlose Liebe" and "Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt"
"Fair Robin I Love" from TARTUFFE
"Vilja" from MERRY WIDOW

Faure's "Mandoline" and "Apres un Reve" OR...
Walton: Poems by Edith Sitwell
Mozart: "S'altro che lagrime" or "Durch Zaertlichkeit"
Menotti: "Monica's Waltz" from THE MEDIUM
"Vilja" from MERRY WIDOW
Schumann: "Der Nussbaum," "Er ist's"
Quilter: "Love's Philosophy"

R. Strauss: "Schlagende Herzen," "Die Nacht," "Ich Schwebe"
Faure "En Priere"
Handel: "Mio caro bene," "How beautiful are the feet" from MESSIAH; JEPHTHA arias

Bellini: "Vaga luna," "Vanne o Rose fortunata" OR "Per pieta"
Hahn: "Quand je fus pris au pavillon"
Mozart: "Als Luise die Briefe," "An Chloe"
Dowland: "If my complaints" or "Can she excuse," "Lend your ears to my sorrow"
If you don't like the Dowland songs, we'll work on some Purcell!

from 24 Songs and Arias: "Per la gloria" or "Gia il sole dal Gange"
Quilter: "Weep you no more, sad fountains"

That's all I have for now...more to come, folks.

Final performance class

We will all meet together in HRH today. If Mr. Byrd or Dr. Mosteller is playing for you in lieu of Dr. Steele, be sure they have your music!...