Oratorio Chorale

Summer Workshops 2017

Workshops for Singers
Late June to early August 2017

Each summer, the Oratorio Chorale hosts a series of workshops designed to improve and enrich singers’ choral experience. These workshops are open to all interested members of our community. Workshops are offered in three categories: sight-singing, vocal technique, and music history. Instructors include Oratorio Chorale Artistic Director Emily Isaacson, Artist in Residence Mary Sullivan, Chorale Accompanist Scott Wheatley, and visiting scholar Aaron Peisner.

Workshops take place at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Falmouth. Specific dates, times, and locations are in preparation.

$25 for one course
$65 for three or more courses
$65 for Sight-Singing Bootcamp, any level

All courses are open to all singers. Course descriptions include suggestions about levels of experience.

See course listings below for information about specific courses.  Sight-Singing Bootcamps will take place at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick. All other courses will be taught either at St. Paul’s or at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Falmouth.

For more information and to place your name on the contact list, please e-mail Julie Marsh, Chorale administrative assistant, at:  julie.christine.marsh@gmail.com


Summer Workshop Courses

Emily Isaacson, Oratorio Chorale Artistic Director
Tentatively scheduled Wednesdays, July 12–August 2
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick  

Beginner Level (5 45-minute sessions)
For musicians with little to no experience: learn to read a score including key and time signatures, pitch names, and note values. In this class no question is too silly.

Intermediate Level
(5 45-minute sessions)

For singers with basic music reading skills, this course will review rhythm in basic and compound meter, major and minor scales, arpeggios, the most commonly used intervals, and basic harmonic analysis. For musicians returning to singing, this class can also be taken as a continuation of the beginners class.

Advanced Level (5 45-minute sessions)
For experienced singers who want to improve their sight-reading skills. This
course will review rhythm in compound and mixed-meter, all intervals, modes (scales other than major and minor), common chord progressions, and strategies for performing leap-driven melodic lines.

Mary Sullivan, Oratorio Chorale Artist in Residence

Anatomy of the Voice  (1 hr.)
Discover the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments that allow you to sing. Once you understand the various components of the anatomy of the voice, you will be better able to manipulate them for proper breath control, diction and sound placement.

Basic Vocal Technique (2 hrs.)  Limited to 12 singers per session
For singers who do not take voice lessons, learn how to improve your singing technique and what to practice at home. We will review anatomy of the voice, breath control techniques, and common vocal issues and how to solve them.

Lyric Diction and Advanced Vocal Technique (2 hrs.)
For singers who study voice privately. Among other topics, we will review ornamentation and run techniques, how to roll your Rs, lyric diction as compared to spoken diction, and common vocal issues and how to solve them.

How to Sing as Your Voice Ages (2 hrs.)
Like all parts of the body, the voice changes as you age. Strategies that worked in your forties likely do not work in your seventies. Learn practical tricks of the trade that will allow you to utilize your individual strengths and minimize your body’s weaknesses so you can continue singing into your third century.


Season Sneak-Peek: Handel’s Messiah (1.5 hrs.)
Scott Wheatley, Oratorio Chorale Accompanist
Learn the history and social traditions behind one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. An interactive lecture, participants will learn by singing sections of the work.

Season Sneak-Peek: Faure’s Requiem (1.5 hrs.)
Scott Wheatley, Oratorio Chorale Accompanist
Learn the story behind Faure’s Requiem, loved by singers around the world, by singing sections of this incredible work.

Monteverdi Madrigals (3 90-min. sessions in June)
Aaron Peisner, guest lecturer
with performance at Saturday, June 17, Portland Bach Festival “Bachtails” event
In honor of Claudio Monteverdi’s 450th birthday, guest lecturer Aaron Peisner will explore selections from the composer’s Fourth Book of Madrigals. This seminal work chronicles Monteverdi’s shift from writing in the prima pratica of Renaissance polyphony to the seconda pratica, in which the music serves primarily to highlight and enhance the meaning of the text. Through careful analysis of the poetry and the composer’s settings of it, the aim of this workshop is to prepare singers to perform a dramatic and honest interpretation of two of Monteverdi’s revolutionary madrigals.