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Catch Bonnie singing Margaret Bonds on Performance Today, 1/15/24

Margaret Bonds (1913-1972) was an African American composer and one of the first black composers to be widely recognized in the U.S.. She was known for her solo vocal works, including spiritual settings and art songs. Bonnie’s 2003 recording of Margaret Bonds’ song, “Dream Variation” from her Three Dream Portraits , with text by Langston […]

I want to sing like Taylor Swift —so why take traditional voice lessons?

Though  it seems that Taylor Swift’s singing and songwriting are just “natural,” they are in fact well-trained.  To start with, Taylor took voice lessons and acting lessons in New York with the hope of performing on Broadway. “While many of her fans may not know this, Swift says she actually started out her career in […]

Uh-Oh! Those Ghastly Glottals

This is generally a blog about singing, but my ears have been tuned to speech recently. The past two weeks I have been recovering from surgery and listening to NPR and cable TV more than usual.  Something is bothering me.  My local NPR station recently got a new morning host, and sometimes her delivery bothers […]

Ines Leuwen, voice teacher — and mystery woman

Recently I found some photos and information about my undergraduate voice teacher, Ines Leuwen-Beck, known to me as Frau Leuwen (pronounced LOY-ven). She was a singer and later professor at the Music Academy (now the University of the Arts) in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, where I studied with her as a voice major in the […]

Boston Choruses are Auditioning!

Boston’s choral community is vibrant and large. After a couple years of relatively low activity due to the pandemic, choruses are offering complete seasons of performances in 2022-23. I have included below a list of some of the area’s mainstream choral organizations who have listed their audition dates. The Boston Choral Collaborative has information on […]

The “Concert Hall of One:” why do I sound different on a recording?

The “Concert Hall of One:” why do I sound different on a recording? Were you ever shocked when you heard a recording of yourself? Was your reaction, “I don’t sound like that”? I can bet that it was not the recording equipment. “The Concert Hall of One” was my teacher David Blair McClosky’s term for […]

Looking for a Voice Teacher? What to ask….

Looking for Voice lessons?  What to ask…. In the United States, there is no certification or licensure to teach singing.  Anyone can hang out a shingle and promote themselves as a voice teacher.  So the consumer has to wade through the many options and make a choice.  Here are some guidelines. Teacher qualifications – Is […]

COVID, The Met, and How Does Opera Go Forward in 2022?

While I wrote a couple weeks ago about choruses singing and rehearsing with and without masks, and one case of the dire consequences of the latter, the largest performing organization in the United States, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, managed to pull off 196 performances in its 2021-2 season without cancelling any. The company’s […]