High School Voice Studio

As the year is about to start, I thought it would be nice to hear from one of the High School Voice Studio members, and see what her expectations were for the year. Martha Patton agreed to write this week's blog, and share with you what her expectations and feelings are for the new year.

"I feel excited and privileged to be in the HGO High School Voice Studio! I think it is going to be one of the highlights of my senior year of high school. Here are some of the things I am excited about:

  • Driving downtown! This is big for me because I have not been driving that long. Other commitments kind of got in the way of getting my driver’s license. As a matter of fact, several of us in the Studio are seriously challenged with driving. We kind of stall on things that don’t relate to music.

  • Getting to hang out with the other students in the Studio. They all have different personalities, but are so much fun. It will be great to have a group of friends who are interested in opera.

  • Working on my new art songs and arias that my HGO voice teacher, Dr. Tracy Satterfield, picked out for me, at my weekly voice lesson. I love them all – but I know some of them will be challenging. It is going to be fun to hear everyone else’s songs at our monthly master classes.

  • Hanging out at HGO! We will get an access card that will allow us to go into the catacombs and labyrinths of the Wortham Center. I can’t wait to go behind the scenes during rehearsals.

  • The operas! I am so looking forward to Pagliacci in October. Watch this Youtube clip of Vesti La Giubba that I found last year, and you will get excited about it, too.
The people of HGO. They are so nice! From the opera singers to the backstage crew – everyone is friendly. They can laugh at themselves, and they are nice to children, as I learned when I was in the children’s chorus of Hansel and Gretel."

Martha Patton, High School Voice Studio member

An August Memory

As we get ready to begin a brand new year at Houston Grand Opera, I can't help but wonder what is in store for us at HGOco. August is already such a strange time of the year: by definition, it should be a time of grandeur, but rarely does it seem to be so. Following the academic calendar, I associate August with new beginnings. For me it has become a time of expectation and planning; a time when I prepare for the fall Opera to Go! show and make sure I am ready to receive the influx of ticket orders for High School Night at the Opera. I remember when I myself was in high school; I was excited about these new beginnings because I loved to get my new school supplies and find out what books we would be reading for the year. Of course I would be nervous for the first day of school, but those nerves were soon replaced by an eagerness to find out what my classmates had done for the summer.

August holds another association for me, one that definitely matches this venerable month's origin. When I feel the stifling heat of an August day in Houston, I recall the time I spent mowing our lawn in the dry heat of our Oklahoma summers. I was positive our yard had the fastest-growing lawn on the block, and I had to mow it every Saturday. (I was also sure that this was a torture devised by my father to keep me from enjoying my weekend, but in reality it was just a normal chore for a teenage boy.) The one solace I had while I had to (endlessly) push the lawn mower up and down our backyard hill was listening to the Saturday matinee opera broadcasts on the local radio. August was the month when the Bayreuth Festival was broadcast, and I relished in this grandiose music that I didn't know much about. It took countless hours in the listening library at college to finally understand what they were singing about, but by that time I was already hooked. Even though I may not list a single Wagner opera in my top five, I will never miss a chance to see one of these masterpieces. And every summer, when August rolls around, I hear the beginnings of a drawn-out E flat major chord or another chord that never seems to cadence where it should, and I can't help but raid my CD collection to get my Wagner fix.

So what I'm curious to know is this: do you, blog reader, have any specific memories associated with your first opera experience? I'd love to hear from you if you do. Leave a comment and let me know what sparks your operatic memories.

Thank you,