Every year, voice chair Marlena Malas doesn’t believe the Voice Program will yield better talent than in the previous season. Every year, she thinks it’s impossible to beat what prior students have brought to the table.
Every year, Malas is wrong.
“It’s a goldmine of talent, and every year I wonder if I can do it again,” Malas said.
She has been working with the School of Music’s Voice Program for the past 36 years, and said she is perpetually surprised by the stellar students that crop up each summer.
The Voice Program, in order to give the students a chance to perform shortly after their arrival, is hosting the Sing-In — the event will take place at 2 p.m. today in Fletcher Music Hall, and benefits the Chautauqua Women’s Club Scholarship Fund.
Emily Pogorelc, a rising sophomore at the Curtis Institute of Music and a soprano studying in the Voice Program, agreed to participate in the Sing-In before she even arrived on the grounds.
“I’m excited. We have a similar thing at Curtis,” Pogorelc said. “I know I’m already prepped to sing an aria.”
Pogorelc chose “The Silver Aria,” from Douglas Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe, in part because of the link between her and Baby Doe, the opera’s main character.
“It’s something that I really connected to,” Pogorelc said. “I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Baby Doe is actually from Wisconsin. I felt a connection to it when I first started singing it and I’ve liked it ever since.”
Participating in the Sing-In isn’t something every student is up for, Malas said. But, she said, for those who want to push themselves, it becomes apparent early in the season.
“For the kids that really want to go through with this [as a career], this training prepares them. It’s tough,” Malas said. “If you don’t have the ‘fire in the belly’ about this, it’s too hard. But Chautauqua is a good place to have that experience.”