Sing-In gives new music school students a chance to show off their talents

Greg Funka | Daily File Photo
Marlena Malas, chair of the School of Music’s Voice Program, coaches a student in August 2013.

Today, more than 40 vocalists will take the stage at Fletcher Music Hall.

Some will be nervous, with eyes fixed upon them and ears ready for their voices. Their palms may be sweaty; faces red.

Some will be confident, feet planted firmly on the ground, chests pronounced—ready to belt the ballad of the century.

At 2 p.m., during the School of Music’s annual Sing-In, the students will face their fate—some accompanied by nerves and others nudged by confidence, all ready to showcase their talents.

No stranger to success, internationally esteemed recitalist and chair of the school’s Voice Program Marlena Malas has led the Sing-In for over 25 years.

Malas said she empathizes with performers who feel nervousness and uses the Sing-In to help break the ice amongst students.

“I myself was a very nervous performer,” Malas said. “I had seen it over the years in the different schools that I taught and thought this is a good way just to break the ice for these kids. Just to get up and do it.”

In addition to performing with a new pianist, Malas allows the vocalists to choose their own repertoire as a means to ease tension and allow an educational experience to take place.

“It’s their choice,” she said. “I made it very clear [to them] sing whatever you want, just enjoy the experience as much as you can.”

Meeting new vocalists is an experience that seasoned Chautauquans and even those new to the Institution can enjoy. With performers ranging in age from late teens to late 20s who have diverse backgrounds, this year provides a unique mix of what Malas said she looks forward to.

With a teaching style that she describes as “very individual,” Malas said her own objective for the season is very simple: whatever it is her students expect to accomplish, she would like to help them do it.

“You’ll have a great time,” Malas said with a laugh. “It is a preview of some of the extraordinary talent and what is to come in the next seven weeks.”