Thursday, November 19, 2015

Required concert during class Friday

Hi folks,

Here is the Google map of the Advent, located at 2016 6th Avenue N. Here is the web site for the church itself, if you'd like to know more. It's about 10 minutes door to door, including parking time. There are meters on the street, and a parking deck accessible via 5th Avenue N if there is nothing available on the street. I'd advise carpooling: it's just easier that way.

The space is gorgeous. Relax and enjoy the concert, the music, and the delightful way we use music to inaugurate the holiday season.

After the concert, I hope you all have a restful and joyous break. Enjoy time with family and friends, and know that in this season of thanksgiving, I am thankful to be able to teach each and every one of you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quote of the week

Ellen Rissinger said this in her master class:


Think about that for a while, folks.

Monday, November 16, 2015

End-of-semester reminders

Yes, it's that time. The second to last week of class. Thanksgiving week separates this week and next, so it's easy to forget how little class time remains.

This week is your last opportunity to brush up on repertoire! The last lesson of the semester is a memorized run-through of all rep for your jury. Plan accordingly.

Four hours total of listening (YouTube, CDs, DVDs, etc.), along with brief observations, needs to be posted on your Google doc before juries begin on December 9. If you've told me what you've listened to or watched but have not posted this on your document, you have not fulfilled the assignment.

Last but not least, take care of yourselves. Eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest. We're in the final stretch, so your health is of utmost importance!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Do you really want it?

Dear students,

Recently, I had the great joy of reconnecting with a former student whom I taught when she was in high school. Even then, she was auditioning for everything and anything, and was an accomplished dancer as well as singer and actor. She finished her BFA in Musical Theatre at Penn State a few years ago, then immediately moved to New York. She began performing on cruise ships, in regional theatre, summer stock, and even had a spot on Law & Order: SVU. At the ripe old age of 25, she is now on the national tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. Here she is:

You might ask: why is Dr. Kris telling me about someone I never met? Well, I'll tell you.

Sarah's work ethic has made her life possible. She is from a tiny town (and I mean tiny: 10,000 people, 6,000 of which are university students). This did not limit her. She began voice lessons in high school, she took instrumental and dance lessons beginning in elementary school, and she performed in summer productions as a kid. True, some of you did not have these opportunities growing up. Sarah came from a loving family, and both of her fabulous parents are musicians who supported her dreams from the day she began dreaming them.

These advantages gave her a head start, to be sure. But my point is, even with all of the opportunities her parents had given her, she  confessed to me that she felt behind when she got to Penn State.

That's right. She felt like she had to catch up. She was up against people who had been immersed in her field of choice since forever. So what did she do?

She loaded 20 CDs of musical theatre shows onto her iPod each week, and listened to them every day while she was on the treadmill at the gym. She got the sound of as many professionals as possible into her ear, so she knew what people working in the business were doing. She created a sound model in her ears, which she could then draw from when she was preparing her own audition rep. [Just as a reality check, that's significantly more listening than I'm requiring you to do all semester, and she did it of her own free will.] She wanted this career, and was passionate about learning all she could.

She also did this while putting in gym time. She knew that her body was her instrument, and if she was going to get hired, she'd better look the part and have the physical stamina to carry it. She knew that if she only sounded great, there were people out there who not only sounded great but looked better...or who wouldn't get winded during dance rehearsal.

When she got to New York, she took every gig she could. She showed up prepared, went the extra mile when she was asked to choreograph this or that, and was nice to everyone. People remember when you are good colleague. They remember when you not only do everything you're asked to do, but also when you go above and beyond and are easy to work with on top of it.

This is all by way of saying, we all come to our work with deficits that need to be remediated. Our job is to work on them without dismissing them as unfixable. If you say you want something, prove it by your actions. Passion for what you want in your future can be the fuel to get the work done.

And last but not least, Sarah had a team of people cheering for her, encouraging her, and challenging her. These people were her teachers, her mentors, her friends, her family. Find that team in your own life, and lean on them. Ask for their help. Request that they ask more of you than you think you can give. Be hungry to learn more than you think you need to know. That's how you grow.

Sarah can be a role model for each and every one of you in some way. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

clarification re: Chuck Hudson

There is NO class this afternoon: it's all happening on Friday, as outlined below. This is different than appears on your syllabus. See you all there!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Extra credit attendance

Folks, for those of you who have missed going to some of the required events, you are welcome to use Thursday's concert at the AEIVA as a makeup concert. Free food at 5pm: concert is from 5:30-6:30. NOT required attendance, but if you go and would like credit, be sure I see you afterward.