Photos by Christopher Hall and Steve Sherman as noted
The masterclass participants! From left: Vera, Nia, Renée Fleming, Stephan, Lindsey
Adam Chinn, our Chairman of the Board, thanking Ms. Fleming for coming and Ms. Lipson for hosting the event!
Concert Chorister Lindsey singing “Lied der Mignon” by Franz Schubert
Several weeks before the Renee Fleming Master Class, Francisco sat down with Vera, Stephan, and I, three of the four participants, to explain the requirements of participation. We would practice every day. We would know our songs backward and forward, every translation, every note, all the history and background. We would be ready.
Over the next fifteen days, as I researched and practiced my pieces, I was guided and helped through every step of the process by YPC’s tireless staff. When the day of the Master Class came, as I looked down at my shoes and took a deep breath to begin, I felt only anticipation, not nerves. YPC made sure I was prepared, and I felt ready.
Singing for Renee Fleming was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had. Ms. Fleming was full of kindness and grace; she complimented each of the singers as well as critiquing us, and she gave instructions and ideas in a warm, balanced way. Her practical suggestions gave me a new look at how to practice my songs: she showed me that by singing through each piece on a hum, a lip trill, or the nonsense word “nang,” I could make my sound more clean and more resonant. I’ve seen this to be very helpful as I’ve been practicing since the class.
I was at first incredibly intimidated by the thought of singing to my peers, but I knew as soon as I walked to center stage that I was facing a kind audience. I left the evening very encouraged by my friends and by Ms. Fleming.
YPC says at the beginning of each year that the staff is ready and excited to help choristers with everything from SAT prep to college auditions. This year, as a senior, I’ve learned that firsthand: the staff at YPC has helped me immeasurably with college audition prep, college interviews, and leading up to this Master Class. There is no way I could have done it without them. Similarly, Renee Fleming is described as a kind, warmhearted person, even while being so excellent at her craft and so famous for her work; and having the opportunity to work with her was everything I could have expected and more. I am so very grateful for the experience.
-Lindsey, 17, Concert Chorus