Broadway vocal coach and song stylist David Brunetti has been working with Asolo Conservatory students for more than 20 years. The New York City-based coach has helped the likes of Art Garfunkel, Judy Collins, Eartha Kitt, Christopher Durang and Gregory Hines, to name a few.
The week of Dec. 10, Brunetti conducted intensive workshops with the Conservatory students, leading up to the fundraiser, musical master class and performance “Backstage with Brunetti,” Friday, Dec. 14.
Students got up in front of about 15 of their peers Dec. 12, to perform a song, but before they could sing it, they had to develop their characters. Each student received about 45-minutes of coaching from Brunetti.
“How are you feeling,” he asked students before their turns. He’d listen to their singing and educational background, and get to know each of his subjects.
The students performed memorized texts of their songs in a monologue, then Brunetti asked follow-up questions to hone in on the characters they were portraying: “Condense the song to one line of dialogue,” “This song is about you doing what?” “Who are you talking to in this song?” “What’s your objective?” “What happens if you don’t get your objective,” etc.
The students would then perform their monologue to the beat of the music, and eventually sing the melody. But between each step, Brunetti helped them transform their performance.
The transformation from the students’ first readings through their melodic performance was remarkable; students’ final performances ranged from emotional to animalistic. The more they followed their instinct and found themselves in the character they were portraying, the more Brunetti praised them.
“How did that feel?” he asked them once they finished. It was a unanimous answer: It felt great.
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