The First Step

2006 Auditions: Screening
Welcome aboard. For the next 30 weeks we’ll chronicle the development of our 2006 season. It all starts here, on a dining room table covered with forms, résumés, headshots and CDs. October is my least favorite month – I have to take 500+ applications (exact number not yet known) and whittle them down to about 300. Then we’ll hear those 300 in live audition. But not yet…

The information in front of me falls into the following categories: 1) Where and when the applicant got academic degrees or artist diplomas: 2) What other training opportunities s/he participated in (apprentice programs, etc): 3) Awards won: 4) Operatic roles performed. Lots of other information seeps out from the résumés, but this first cut is really made on the basis of these four things and where they intersect.

We don’t have an age limit for applicants. You might find that odd for a “young artist” program. “Emerging artist” program might be more accurate. We’re aiming for that brief period after a singer gets his or her “terminal” degree (hate that descriptor, but it works) – usually a M.M. (Master of Music) or some sort of Artist Diploma awarded by a conservatory. Enough of this: If you want to read more, go here and scroll down to “Who Should Apply.”

I’m not good with rejection, and I’ve spent a good deal of my adult life strategizing about how to avoid it. (I don’t recommend this.) So it’s not a simple thing for me to toss an application into the “no” pile. Even when it belongs there. Most of these singers have a great deal to offer, and they are dedicated to and passionate about their music. It’s just that many of them aren’t a good fit for us at this point. To pretend otherwise would be to do a disservice to them and to our program. Nevertheless, my pitiful bleeding heart makes this process more painful that it would be to someone with any kind of backbone.

Tomorrow’s screening topic: Demo CDs. They’re optional, but they can tip the balance. Either way.

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