Integrating Vocal Technique Into the Weekly Church Choir Rehearsal

Matthew Hoch
Crown Center Sheraton Hotel - CHICAGO C

While all-professional church choirs exist, most choirmasters and organists find themselves working with ensembles comprised largely of volunteer singers of various backgrounds and abilities. This presentation gives an overview of some common areas of vocal technique where amateur singers experience challenges with specific solutions offered for each of these pitfalls. In addition to addressing general aspects of vocal technique for all singers (male and female), a unique aspect of this workshop will be an intimate discussion of each voice type and how one can better address the specific technical needs of each section: sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. The unique nature of trained soloists—either paid or unpaid—will also be discussed: Can an operatically trained soprano blend seamlessly within her section? How can a choir director sensitively manage an erratic vibrato? Is there such a thing as a “healthy straight tone?” These questions and more will be answered and discussed. The presentation will conclude with an overview of some recent revelations in voice science and pedagogy and what these advents mean to choral directors on a practical level. The presenter will advocate for a simple, fact-based terminology that is easily understandable and speaks directly to vocal function while offering advice for maintaining vocal health and hygiene. Much of the content of this presentation derives from the author’s nearly two decades of experience as a classical singer and full-time university voice teacher, and how this particular “day job” has influenced his work with volunteers and soloists in parish church choirs.

Thursday, July 5
11:00 – 11:45am