Le Bell Canto by June LeBell

Calling All Singers ... Something You Should Know

Posted August 16, 2010 at 10:00 am

by June LeBell

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In my last blog, I was "Calling All Dogs." Now I’m Calling all singers in the Sarasota area. Gloria Musicae is about to hold auditions for the 2010-2011 season and, if you’re a good singer with sight-reading skills and a love of great music, you could have fun and get paid for it, too!

I started singing with Gloria Musicae the autumn after I moved here in 2002 and I’ve been with the ensemble ever since. Why have I stayed? Let me count the ways:

It’s a nice, small group — only 32 of us, at the most — and I love making vocal “chamber” music with others. It’s like being part of a string quartet or a wind quintet. We really have to listen to each other, blend and be mindful of our vocal production so we don’t stick out.

I really love the people in the group. They’ve become some of my closest friends in Sarasota. We share similar interests. And, best of all, we support each other through sorrows and joys.

Singing in GM, as we lovingly refer to it, is a way to hone the singing skills I studied in high school (Music & Art in NYC) and conservatory (Mannes College of Music in NY and Hartt College of Music in Hartford, CT). After I graduated from college, I sang with many professional vocal ensembles but the best training was from M&A, some of the church jobs I’ve had and one summer when I sang for two months with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. In Gloria Musicae, I’m taken back to my, um, youth and it really feels good.

Our new artistic director, Joe Holt, is not only a terrific musician, conductor and pianist, he’s also fun to work with. Rehearsals, held Monday evenings from 7 – 9:30, seem to whiz by and I enjoy the work.

I love the repertoire. Yes, I’ve sung much of the music before. (Hey, I’m 66 years old and have been doing this kind of thing — except for a 16 year sabbatical while I actually made a living announcing for WQXR — since I was 15.) This coming season we’re performing the Mozart “Requiem,” a really old, dear friend I’ve sung at least a dozen times. But I’m also singing new music I’ve never seen before like the exciting “Gloria” by Bass we did last season and the world premiere of the new critical edition of Rossini’s “Petite messe solennelle,” which we performed to a sold-out audience in April at the Sarasota Opera House. Talk about exciting…

There’s nothing like singing great music with instruments. Gloria Musicae hires musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra and they’re inspiring. I say this having sung numerous jobs with the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein, Rudel, Ozawa and others: our Sarasota Orchestra musicians are fantastic and make me feel as if I’m back at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall.

Those are just some of the reasons I love singing with Gloria Musicae. And they spell out the reasons I plan to audition again in a couple of weeks. Yes, even those of us who’ve been part of GM in the past must re-audition every year. Why? Well, there may be better voices out there who deserve to sing with the group and, since the size of the ensemble is limited, singers who are accepted come in because of their talent, not longevity. I may be one of the ones to go. Or not.

If you love to sing as much as I do and you think you may qualify for Gloria Musicae, I hope you’ll sign up to audition. You MUST have an appointment. Sorry, no walk-ins. (I told that to Pavarotti, too.) The audition involves singing two classical pieces (one in English, the other in any other language), some sight reading and some scales and vocal exercises. It’s a breeze….

If you’re interested, please email SFalk@gloriamusicae.org. And for more information about GM, just go to www.gloriamusicae.org. Maybe we’ll be singing together next season!

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