Opus January 2017

In This Issue

News at CCM
Behind the Scenes - On Air
Student Spotlight and Faculty Profile - The Student - Teacher Connection
Musical Instrument Highlight - The Clarinet
Why Music Matters:  Teaching Tolerance
Did you know...? Woodwind players often make or shape their own reeds!
Upcoming Area Performances

News at CCM

Spring Semester Registration and Tuition Payments—If you haven’t already, register today for private and group instruction and secure your time slot. Spring tuition is due in full by Monday, January 9th. Please speak with your instructor for your start date in January for your spring semester private lessons.

Group classes held on Tuesdays through Fridays will start on January 17th. Spring semester group classes regularly scheduled for Mondays begin on January 23rd.

Upcoming All School Student Recitals: After the holiday break, CCM instructors work hard in January to get students back into the routine of their weekly lessons and regular practicing. For this reason, we use January as an opportunity to get ready for one of our favorite set of recitals in early February, duets! Stay tuned for details about opportunities to perform as a soloist or in a duet in February, and join us for these entertaining concerts on:

*Saturday, February 4th, at 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00 pm

*Thursday, February 9th, 7:00 pm

Ease on down the yellow brick road on March 4th! Reserve your tickets today!

Secure your babysitters now and plan an evening out at the de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Join us for the Emerald City Winter Party!

Party with your friends and plan to reserve a Table of 10—it’s easy to do. Visit us online and enter party attendee names, or call Sue Seger at 978-369-0010. RSVP now and purchase tickets all through our website

Tune of the WeekStay tuned in…you can always find the weekly Tune on Facebook, posted on the bulletin boards at CCM and in your email mailbox.

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Behind the Scenes – On Air

Renee Tatum, Professional Singer and Teacher of Voice and Acting

Renee Tatum spends a significant amount of time with her students covering a topic so fundamental that many of us may forget all about it: breathing. "Whether you’re an opera singer, on Broadway, a pop singer—hopefully, even if you’re a pop singer—you need to understand how to support your instrument with your entire body. Breathing is a big part of vocal training,” says Tatum, a CCM instructor and performer who studied opera at the Juilliard School.

Young adults particularly, “walk around seeming disconnected from their bodies,” Tatum says, sometimes literally holding their breath all day at school. That, in turn, affects the kind of sound they’re able to produce when they’re singing. “It seems to come from the neck and the head, and less from the support that’s lower in the body,” she says.

To connect students to their breath, Tatum encourages them to pay attention to their shoulders as they breathe. “Raising the shoulders as you take a breath in can create tension in the neck, throat, and larynx area,” she says. “And you don’t want any excess tension when you’re trying to create a free and beautiful sound.”

Instead, she trains their focus on moving air continuously through the body. In one exercise, Tatum instructs her students to make four short hissing sounds, followed by a long one, allowing them to empty their bodies of air completely. When they take another breath in immediately, “they discover the idea of constant moving of the air in and out of the body without excess tension. That creates constant energy, which supports the voice,” she says. Only when this continuously flowing breath becomes habit, when the connection between body and breath becomes second nature, can a student’s singing really start to catch air.

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Student Spotlight and Faculty Profile - The Student - Teacher Connection

A good teacher aims not just for instruction, but for inspiration. Francesca Giragos, a student of voice at CCM, says her instructor, Renee Tatum, achieves that balance by giving her the leeway to explore her passions but also guiding her in the practical study necessary to master a piece of music. Francesca is a 14-year-old freshman at CCHS who loves music—everything from Adele to musical theater and opera. Renee Tatum is a professional singer, actor, and voice teacher with degrees from the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and California State University Fullerton; she is a recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program and the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship. The pair started working together at CCM last summer.

In her training with Renee, Francesca focuses on classical pieces with an occasional musical theater piece thrown in there for fun. She hopes to develop good technique, maintain her range, and stretch her comfort zone—a touch of both instruction and inspiration. Here, the student and teacher pose a question for the other, offering a view from both ends of the teacher-learning continuum.

Francesca: What was your first role in an opera, and how has it affected your career?

Renee: My first role in opera was as Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, by Leonard Bernstein. It exposed me to music other than American musical theater, which I was highly trained in, and my performances of the piece were in Prague, in the Czech Republic, close to the theater where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni. Opera is the highest art form that combines my greatest loves. As for you, Francesca, I’m wondering what first drew you to classical music, and what is your favorite language to sing in?

Francesca: My father is a devoted lover of classical music and opera, so my exposure to it began when I was an infant. When you hear something every day for 14 years, it becomes the norm. I’ve grown accustomed to classical music and now enjoy it, though that wasn't always the case. My favorite language to sing in is Italian. I love the sound of Italian and French in song. I am also appreciating Latin more now that I study it in school. I’ve performed in three operas: Hansel and Gretel, Dido and Aeneas, and The Pirates of Penzance, the latter being my favorite. I would love to have a chance to perform in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Spamalot, and Fiddler on the Roof. I am always singing at home, usually anything from Adele—love her!

Musical Instrument Highlight- The Clarinet

Just about every time clarinetist Elizabeth Leehey plays a recital, someone from the audience will find her afterward to say—with genuine surprise—“I didn’t know that’s what the clarinet sounds like!” There seems to be general confusion or at least limited awareness about the instrument, even among music lovers, says Leehey, who teaches at CCM.

Which is understandable for those who know the instrument primarily from middle school band concerts—admittedly not its best representation. But even avid classical radio listeners will hear plenty of piano, violin, or even cello on the air—but rarely a clarinet concerto or sonata. Same goes for concert-goers, who are far more likely to see string quartets or orchestra concerts, where the clarinet is at times seen but rarely heard.

Leehey, who took to the clarinet immediately as a child after struggling through piano lessons for several years, now has a filing cabinet full of beautiful solo clarinet repertoire. The music exists, she says, it just takes some finding.

The first stop for clarinet music is the American band tradition, going back to the early 19th century with John Philip Sousa, and marching and military bands. “The clarinet section in a band is like the violin section of an orchestra,” Leehey says. “It carries a lot of the melody and has a prominent role. You couldn’t have a band without clarinet.” The instrument also plays a key role in the history of American jazz, plus Turkish and Greek music, and—of course—klezmer.

CCM’s registrar and clarinet player, Bonnie Rubrecht, points out that the instrument takes the lead in many cartoons and film scores. Leehey attributes this to the instrument’s versatility: “It has a huge capability for expression—it can be dark and somber, lonely, or it can be joyful, playful, peaceful, or angry,” she says. With nearly four octaves and a huge dynamic range, the clarinet can express every color of mood or emotion.

Although the instrument may not get its due on the classical stage, Leehey says the clarinet is a wonderful choice for children and adult learners alike, particularly those who enjoy playing music from a breadth of traditions. “It seems that when parents think of musical education for their children, they usually think of piano or violin,” she says. But for those interested in playing anything from band to orchestra, jazz to classical, the clarinet offers some far-ranging and fun opportunities.

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Why Music Matters: Teaching Tolerance

Music can bridge cultures: The diversity of music from musicians and artists worldwide is now more accessible than ever. Listening to and participating in music from other ethnicities and nations is a powerful tool in teaching, understanding, and respecting other cultures.

Read about one example of how music teaches tolerance, see "Sharing Songs: A Powerful Tool for Teaching Tolerance and Honoring Culture" by L.M. Pascale 

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Did you know...?

Woodwind players often shape or make their own reeds, the critical piece of cane used to create the sound of clarinets, saxophones, oboes and bassoons. While clarinetists can buy reeds and then ‘shape’ them by using pieces of horsetail or Dutch rush, professional oboe and bassoon players most often make their own reeds by buying the gouged cane and then using several tools to cut, shape and sand their double reeds.


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Upcoming Area Performance

London Haydn Quartet:Verve, Veritas, and Virtuosity: Music of Haydn, Beethoven, and Weber
Friday, January 13, 2017 at 8PM / Presented by Boston Early Music Festival at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational (11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA)

Following their 2014 BEMF début in Boston and New York City, The New York Times hailed the London Haydn Quartet for their “exquisitely rendered interpretations” and “deeply committed music making.” The Quartet returns to Boston with their frequent collaborator, world-renowned historical clarinet virtuoso, Eric Hoeprich.

Tickets are $70/$51/$39/$20. Seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more can save $5 off regular ticket prices. Contact 617-661-1812. Pre-Concert Talk at 7 PM

Boston’s Celtic Music Fest, Friday & Saturday, January 13 & 14, 2017, multiple shows / Harvard Square, Cambridge/ Ticket prices $55/$45

BCMFest (Boston’s Celtic Music Fest), an annual showcase for the Greater Boston area’s rich trove of Celtic music and dance, comes to Harvard Square for another weekend of performance and hands-on events. This family-friendly festival draws performers of all ages from around Greater Boston, presenting music, song and dance from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and other Celtic-related traditions. Events are held in Harvard Square’s Club Passim (47 Palmer Street) and also nearby at First Church, Cambridge (3 Church Street) and The Atrium (50 Church Street). http://www.clubpassim.org/BCMFest

Concord Orchestra, Friday & Saturday January 27 & 28, 2017, 8 PM 51 Walden Street, Concord, MA

Lutoslawski: Symphonic Variations, Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” Concerto, played by the Ehlers Young Artist Competition winner. Pre-concert recitals at 7:15 pm by other competition honorees. Adults/Seniors $25; Under 21 $10

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