This spring Patti Newman, co-coordinator of MVA’s Membership Program, envisioned an outreach program for young women singers with the intent to share our love of barbershop and a cappella music, while fostering ongoing music education during the summer. The program attracted about 12 young women singers and the success of the program was truly due to a group effort!
The Young Women Singers Summer Workshop was a 4-session class series held in late June and early July (excluding the week of July 4th). Each 2-hour class included vocal production taught by MVA Master Director Eileen Gioe and took place during the first 2 hours of MVA’s regular rehearsals. The focus was to learn two new songs: “Roar” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Workshop fee was set at $15; but was refunded when sheet music was returned—essentially making the workshop free.
Young women singers participated in physical warm-ups, vocal warm-ups and were taught a 4-part nursery rhyme. For the two new songs, MVA members were invited to also learn the music, and sing with the young women singers. MVA chorus members taught choreography and sign-language to enhance the visual aspect of the songs.
The workshop culminated with a performance of both songs, during the final workshop session. Family and friends of the girls were invited to watch. These 12 young ladies, ranging from grade school to college age, were all gifted with Region 1 t-shirts, to wear during the performance. Immediately after, singers and their guests celebrated with a ceremony of completion and refreshments.
Workshop Outreach and Materials
Program flyers were created and e-mailed to music program directors before school students were released for summer activities. We researched music directors contact information, advertised on Facebook, and sent the workshop information to the local newspapers. Patti Newman created flyers, registration forms, permission forms, evaluation forms and Certificates of Achievement.
Sheet music was ordered and distributed. Complimentary MVA t-shirts were ordered for participants. Learning tracks were made available via the website. MVA members also were instrumental in promoting the workshop in their own communities, and many MVA members also helped decorate our hall for the final performance.
Creating this workshop allowed MVA to reach young women who are interested in singing and to teach them about Barbershop and A Cappella singing. We hope participants will tell a friend about Barbershop, Sweet Adelines and Merrimack Valley A Cappella. We also hope to do this workshop again in the future, building on this initial success. In our evaluation forms, many girls indicated they would like to do the workshop again! Yes!
At the end of the event our young singers were able to share their musical achievement with family and friends—and we hope that those adults will also be more aware of Barbershop in the community. Mainly, we hope that the young women singers learned that singing in a chorus like MVA is more than vocal technique, or what part you sing, but also about making new connections in their community with sisters in song.
MVA is very proud to be changing lives through song!