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Why study voice at VCU?
- Our students are given intensive, individual attention and are provided a multitude of varied performance opportunities throughout their undergraduate tenure.
- Accompanists are provided for most upperclassmen and are paid for by the department — this includes a weekly rehearsal and half of the student’s weekly voice lesson.
- VCU Opera has the longest-running tradition among universities in Virginia of annual full-scale opera productions. Many students graduate with the invaluable experience of having performed two or three complete roles in full period costume with orchestra — a rare opportunity for undergraduate voice students.
- VCU is the only institution in the commonwealth of Virginia with a full-time position in vocal coaching; this is a rare “perk” for an undergraduate student. There is a choice of two vocal coaches and coaching is available as a second weekly lesson for advanced sophomores, juniors and seniors.
- VCU has a long track record of preparing students for outstanding success in graduate study and the professional world. In 2007 alumni were pursuing graduate studies at Louisiana State University, Manhattan School of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory and Eastman — all but one with scholarships. In September 2004, there were four VCU Opera alumni rehearsing and performing in simultaneous productions at the New York City Opera and a fifth one singing a major role in a New York premiere of a new opera.
- Our music education graduates have a 100 percent placement rate in the profession. Voice/choral alumni include Sherri Matthews, Jamie Barrack, Margaret Gregory, Peggy Ripley, Robin Yohe, Dawn Childs, Dustin Faltz, LeRoi Hughes, Will Cooke, Michelle Graham, Margaret Gregory, Natan Berensteyn and Rebecca Tyree.
- Renowned visiting artists from many areas of the profession are invited regularly for master classes and workshops.
- The rich and vibrant urban environment afforded by Richmond provides ample opportunities to attend extensive and diverse performance experiences. Moreover, many voice students are hired as paid section leaders and soloists in the area’s major churches and temples.
- There are typically seven vocal studios at VCU. Most professors are active as both professional performers and teachers.
- VCU has an active student chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association and the College Music Educators National Conference. These student-run organizations host workshops and events on campus and encourage attendance at national and regional conferences.
- VCU’s voice students have an exciting opportunity to participate in one of the top summer programs in Europe — Operafestival di Roma. Melanie Kohn Day, director of VCU Opera, is the artistic director and there have been numerous students in the past 10 years who have participated.
- VCU’s Commonwealth Singers performed in China in the spring of 2008. The tour featured a massed performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” in Beijing with a Chinese orchestra and John Guthmiller conducting.