Queens Voice Lab Panel Series

The Queens Voice Lab Panel Series is a series of three free, live digital panels specifically designed to reach and engage young Queens-based vocal artists and curated and produced by members of Queens Voice Lab, a diverse and inclusive, artist-led community and workspace of professional singer-actors. Each panel will be live-streamed on YouTube and will run approximately an hour and fifteen minutes with time for Q&A at the end. Audience will be able to submit questions through the YouTube chat.
Image for VL Panel Series, November 9, 4:30 PM EDT.<br />
Mental and Emotional Self-Care for Professional singers<br />
Dashon Burton, Melisa Bonetti, Maggie Finnegan, Andrew Fuchs
As an embodied and expressive art form, singing involves an incredible amount of physical coordination, mental focus, and emotional vulnerability. Self-care has always been critical for singers, but the experience of the pandemic and the forced shutdown of live performing arts has provided the opportunity for even more reflection on this topic. While voice teachers and choir directors certainly coach their students on caring for the physical aspects of their instrument, this panel will focus specifically on mental and emotional self-care. What are the particular mental and emotional health issues connected to making a living as a singer? This panel will address topics, such as: setting healthy boundaries, self-advocacy and agency, managing and preserving energy, protecting professional/financial interests, and working with traumatic experiences and repertoire.
Image for VL Panel Series, November 10, 4:30 PM EST. Pathways to Professional Success as a Singer.  Panel featuring:  Steve Hrycelak, Maggie Finnegan, Michele Kennedy, Jonathan Woody
As we all know, the life of a professional artist isn’t always an easy one, and building a career in NYC can be especially challenging. Nevertheless, there are myriad pathways and avenues to having a fulfilling and joyous artistic career as a professional singer. All QVL members have built and enjoyed successful careers, working both in NYC and outside of it, and they have all done so in their own way. This panel will explore the state of the field, offering concrete advice, encouragement, and inspiration for young artists. Possible topics that will be discussed include: options for training and education, pre-professional opportunities, different working models (freelance vs. salaried employee) and forms (opera, vocal ensemble, etc.), artistic entrepreneurship and forging your own path, and specific considerations for classical singers of color.
Image for VL Panel Series, December 1, 4:30 PM EDT.<br />
On-Stage Representation vs. Tokenism in Opera and other Vocal Arta<br />
Kamala Sankaram, Paul An, Melisa Bonetti, Hai-Ting Chinn
The past several years have seen the acceleration of a much-needed racial justice reckoning in the United States. Within the classical music world, this has also opened up more discussion about the ways in which race and racism are present in the field. Indeed, classical music – and especially opera – has a long history of Eurocentrism, cultural appropriation, and whitewashing, from the choices regarding the stories that are told to the choices about who is chosen to perform certain roles. While this manifests in many different ways, this panel will take up the topic primarily in relation to hiring and casting practices. Using examples from opera and other vocal arts, the panel will discuss whose voices are included and amplified in the field. How do we move beyond tokenism? What would true representation look like and how will we achieve it? What resources are available for singers of color? How can white colleagues be better allies? As one of the most diverse urban areas in the U.S. and the world, young Queens artists also represent the promise of greater diversity within the field. This panel will be designed to be both educational and empowering.

This panel series is made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

This panel series is made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.