â�?�?Camp Operaâ�?�? musical workshop
prepares for programâ�?�?s second year By Randy Dockendorf
Yankton Media, Inc. Hip-hop met Mozart starting Monday in Vermillion, as renowned operatic tenor Scott Piper began his second annual "Camp Opera" workshop. The Vermillion resident, who performs around the world, launched "Camp Opera" last year in his hometown. The camp reached all ages with lessons in opera and other musical expressions. Piper was performing in Israel last week, but final preparations were under way for the June 1 start of this year's workshop, said Camp Opera assistant Rebecca Fadell. The Florida State University graduate student in opera performance returned for the second year of Camp Opera. This year's workshop began Monday in the United Church of Christ in Vermillion, and will wrap up June 26, Fadell said. The workshop has expanded its offerings, which will come together for the production of Mozart's Magic Flute at 7 p.m. June 29 at the UCC in Vermillion. "This year, we will feature photography, visual arts and dance," she said. "With the focus on all of the arts this year, it's so great. That's why I am so excited to be back again." The first two weeks of the workshop are devoted to the college students in the bel canto program, Fadell said. So far, the program has attracted students from Minnesota and Missouri, she said. "Bel canto, which means 'beautiful singing' in Italian, is a style of singing that was popular in the 19th century," she said. "During those first two weeks (of Camp Opera), there will be coaching lessons. These students will sing at area churches on Sundays and also at the Monday Musicales." The final two weeks will focus on students ranging from 18 months old to high school, Fadell said. The digital photography students will shoot photos around Vermillion to be used at Magic Flute, while the visual artists will work on a set and costumes for the operetta, she said. The dance program for ages 10-18 will feature hip-hop, Fadell said. Piper's brother-in-law, Arturo Miles of Minneapolis, will teach the class June 22-26. Camp Opera students can register to take all of the 45-minute classes, which run from 9 a.m. to noon. The morning workshop schedule allows students to participate in other summer activities. While adding other arts, the workshop has not lost its strong emphasis on music, Fadell said. Camp Opera offers programs for the singing voice, collaborative piano and band. The workshop offers pre-school, grade school, high school, collegiate and adult programs. The June 29 mini-production of The Magic Flute in the UCC sanctuary will feature all Camp Opera participants, Fadell said. "This whole thing is about reaching the kids," Fadell said. "They have the opportunity to really figure out how to express themselves in theater. The goal is to give these children the opportunity to discover what they love to do." The workshop also features "Monday Musicales" at 7 p.m. June 1, 8, 15 and 22 at the UCC on 226 E. Main Street, Fadell said. The free events are open to the public. The first Monday Musicale, held Monday, featured Susan Keith Gray, piano, and Marie-Elaine Gagnon, cello. These two performers presented a recital of Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Piazzolla, focusing on the singing quality of the cello and the rhythmic qualities of dance. "For the first musicale, we wanted to show (the workshop) is not all about singing," Fadell said. Gray, a University of South Dakota music professor, said last week that Monday's musicale will bring together the rich sounds of two instruments. "The cello is one of the instruments considered to be most like the human voice," she said. "You will be able to hear the lyrical quality of the instrument, especially in the slow movement of the Beethoven sonata and in the Rachmaninoff Vocalise, which was written for voice without words." Gray said she looks forward to working again with Camp Opera. "I'm excited about starting things off and participating in the camp again this year," she said. "I will be teaching pianists how to collaborate with singers. This is a very important skill for pianists, and I look forward to working with a variety of pianists and singers." This year's staff includes Piper, Fadell, Gray and Joshua Baum, who is working on his doctorate at Michigan State University. "It's been great for me. I get to help with the coaching of the college kids and teaching of some of the high school kids," Fadell said. "The choir and band programs will be a great experience for me. It's another reason to come back this year." Camp Opera will again offer performers for area Sunday worship services, Fadell said. Interested churches can e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call (612) 327-2939. Churches signed up so far include First United Methodist Church and Trinity Lutheran Church of Vermillion and Dalesburg Lutheran Church of rural Vermillion. "It's just amazing to see the joy in the faces of the people in these churches and be able to share with them," Fadell said. "We really enjoy them so much. It's fun to meet all the people and to receive their support." Last year's Camp Opera drew tremendous public interest, Fadell said. "It was an amazing experience last year. It was so wonderful to work with Scott Piper," she said. "Obviously, he knows what he is doing. He has grown more popular as he sings all over the world. You see first-hand his passion for the music and the arts." Piper blocks off his concert schedule for Camp Opera during a busy season when he could perform, Fadell said. "Scott just believes so strongly in this, and he knows how important this is for the arts," she said. The arts have taken on particular importance with all of today's uncertainties in the world, Fadell said. "There is something about art that goes beyond all the economic and political issues that stress us out in life," she said. "The music has always been there and always will be. It's always something that touches your soul. It de-stresses you." For more information, log on to www.campopera.com.