Meghan documents the latest adventures on her journey to grad school….
“Attention aboard the cabin, we are making our final descent into Indianapolis.”
“Is “Faites-lui mes aveux” still your aria?”
“You got this, mezzo!”
“The practice rooms are sound-proof!!”
“The practice rooms are all full…”
“Let’s just take it from the “Schicchi” section…”
Over the past month, I have encountered a variety of practice rooms, rehearsal halls, recital halls, voice studios, and conversations as I have traveled the country looking at graduate music programs. My journey has taken me to Arizona, Iowa, and Indiana, as well as layovers in Kansas City and Las Vegas. This past month has given me a glimpse into the life of an auditioning performer, but it has also given me the opportunity to share my vocal talents with world-class faculty across the country.
My first audition came February 11th at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. This was the closest audition site, and it has been my best audition so far. I have attributed this success to my wonderful accompanist, Maggie Rebers, and her husband, Tim Rebers. They drove me to and from Iowa in one day, and their musical and operatic conversations made the car ride quite lively and enjoyable! The comfort of having my own accompanist at the audition also settled my nerves and contributed to a great performance. I have also received word that I was accepted into the Graduate Voice program at the University of Iowa. The first audition was wonderful and successful!
My second audition took place at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. The U of A is the alma mater of both of my parents, so I know where they subconsciously want me to go J . During this visit, I got a better feel for the campus since I auditioned on a day that classes were in session. I sat in on a voice lesson, and the mezzo teacher had an amazing, forward, resonant tone! Her 1st year master’s student was a soubrette (light soprano), and I seemed to follow her around all day. My audition came in the noon hour, and it went without a glitch. I was introduced to the faculty, including Dr. Bruce Chamberlain, whom I had the pleasure of working with during my high school regional honor choir. I sat in on his graduate choir rehearsal, and their tone was fantastic! It made me want to jump in and start singing along with the altos. J Their opera rehearsal started at 4, and this was also a treat. They were rehearsing Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and the lead bass-baritone had a mature, rich, full sound. This was a worthwhile campus visit, indeed!
My third audition was the most anticipated of them all – Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. The Jacobs School of Music is the largest opera program in the country, and they produce 6 fully-staged operas a year! Their faculty is world-renowned, and their performance hall is top-notch and beautiful. Getting to this campus was no easy feat. There are no major airports or train stations in Bloomington, so you have to be creative. I needed to fly to Kansas City, then to Indianapolis. From there, I took a van that would drop me off right on the IU campus. Once I arrived on campus, I looked at my map and then up at the music buildings. That’s right folks – plural! When I asked for directions to the practice rooms, my answer was, “There are practice rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors in the music building. There are rooms in the inner and outer circle.” What does that mean?? My answer when I asked about a professor’s office, “Her office is on the bottom floor in the outer circle.” I was so confused…until I got to the building itself. This building is ginormous…very intimidating to a girl who comes from a school with a music WING and 5 practice rooms. I kept passing dozens of practice rooms, but all of them were taken! I had to go back to the Musical Arts Center and warm up in one of the basement dressing rooms. After that experience, I sat in on a voice lesson. The teacher was a mezzo, and after the lesson, the student – a senior soprano – raved about her professor and Indiana in general. She showed me to the stage door, and wished me luck. While I was waiting in antsy anticipation, I discovered that we were waiting right next to the studio of the teacher I’d like to study with – Mary Ann Hart. It seemed so real now! I was last on the list to perform that day, which was perfect since I’d be freshest in their minds. I only sang two selections for them – I chose my German lied and they chose my French aria – but the hall had live acoustics that made my voice sound resonant and full to my ears! Later that night, I sat in on the opera dress rehearsal for their production of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. This production was outstanding. The stage was huge, the set was elaborate, and their costumes were gorgeous. Their singing and acting were professional-level, and it really, really made me want to go there! After the first act, the voice teacher whose lesson I sat in on told me I had a great voice, and she said that I could take a lesson with her if I decided to go to Indiana! Completely made my night J This campus visit was fantastic…and successful! I have just received word that I have been accepted into their Master’s of Music in Voice Performance program for the fall!
My fourth and final audition was this last weekend in Tempe, AZ at Arizona State University. This campus is closest to my home in Scottsdale, so it wins the prize for the shortest driving time! This time around, I felt like an old pro. The high notes came easily, and the sight-singing was a piece of cake. This visit also wins the award for the best weather with highs around the 70s!
All of this traveling has made for an exciting semester, and it made me anticipate choir tour all the more! During the 2012 Southeastern Concert Tour, I didn’t travel by myself auditioning for school – rather, I traveled with my friends toward a warm spring break where I had the opportunity to sing for smiling congregations! These auditions have made me thankful to God for these opportunities and their successes, and it has made me realize that through him, anything is possible. I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream, and I cannot wait to see what else God has in store for me!