Exercise your vocals at Choral Workshop and Festival


By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW

As with every muscle in the body, the vocal chords need to be used and exercised to stay in shape. Older singers often complain that they just don’t have the vocal range they once enjoyed. The best remedy for that is to exercise the vocal chords and sing.

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will be offering a weekend choral workshop and festival Aug. 21-24 that will help singers get their vocal chords in shape and allow them to join with other singers to sing some truly beautiful music.

Vocal coach, director, and singer Peter Schindler, from Dallas, will be leading the choir through some helpful vocal exercises and teaching techniques to help the group learn and sing the Franz Joseph Haydn “Missa Brevis Sanctis Joannis de Deo.”

This small mass setting is challenging, but not excessively difficult, and the joy and satisfaction of learning and singing it is well worth the time and effort.

“It is a proven fact that making music keeps the brain healthy,” says Schindler. “It is important for us musicians to continue to challenge ourselves to learn new techniques and new music in order to remain alert, curious, and vocally agile throughout our lives.”

Schindler has spent the past 40 years performing, teaching and studying the human voice. He has long had a fascination with the physical aspects of singing, how the human voice produces beautiful sounds and has expanded his studies to include the connection between the human voice and the human spirit.

“The performer’s task is to understand the composer’s intent, bring it into being and transmit it to the audience with honesty. In short, to be the channel of the idea’s truth,” says Schindler.

The festival events begin on Thursday evening, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m., with a master class in the church. The event is free to those attending the festival and $10 per singer for those who wish to sing a solo and receive an evaluation and lesson within a class setting. Soloists who wish to sing for Schindler are asked to submit their selection to Sally Neel in advance. This can be done via email (stpatschoir970@gmail.com) or by calling the church at 731-5801. Singers may sing one solo each.

The remainder of the schedule is as follows:

Friday, Aug. 22, 9-11:30 a.m. Sessions on proper breathing, vocal techniques and warm-ups, spiritual preparation for singing and other related topics.

3:30-5 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. (with break from 5-6 p.m. for dinner). Work on music for concert Sunday evening.

Saturday, Aug. 23, 8:30-11 a.m. Morning rehearsal.

Lunch, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Rehearsal, 1-4 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 24, 2-4 p.m. Rehearsal.

Festival Concert, 7 p.m. in the church (6 p.m. warm up).

The cost for the festival is $50 per singer ($75 for couples), payable to St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church (note: Choral Festival) by Aug. 21. Some partial or full scholarships are available upon request. To register, contact Sally Neel at stpatschoir970@gmail.com or call 946-6458. St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.