Our FIRST fall banquet…
Our FIRST NATS Auditions scheduled through the new online format…
Over 35 members were welcomed to the Monte Carlo Inns Vaughan Suites on Friday, November 18, 2011 for our annual fall meeting and our newly annual fall banquet. All of the travel-weary teachers were met with an intimate setting of wine and cheese and beautifully decorated tables all made possible by Co-Vice President of Special Events Alison Moodie.
The evening was started with our meeting and an overview of the NATS Auditions day to be held the next morning at York University. Auditions Coordinator Michelyn Wright discussed the new online registration and how it worked very well, even with a few wrinkles and glitches along the road! We will continue to use this software, and she will try to streamline some things for next year.
One of the major concerns from teachers was the amount of work it was to input all the data on their students. Michelyn let us know that the software was created as a teacher input application only and if teachers were to give students their login information, students have access to all the other students’ private information which is a violation of NATS’ privacy issue. The upside is that once you have input student information, this data is saved for subsequent years. Additionally, while each member does their own input, there is less work for Michelyn and so the volunteer load of putting on the Auditions is shared among all of us! To make it easier, Vice President of Membership Lindsay Isaac will create a YouTube video of a demo online registration as an aid for those having trouble navigating the system for next year. Hindsight being 20/20, we will continue to improve how we function for the NATS Auditions process!
It was also officially announced that will be holding the 2012 Chapter Auditions at Wilfrid Laurier University. Friday, November 16, 2012 will be a continuation of our Fall meeting and Guest Speaker event while Saturday, November 17th, 2012 will be the Auditions. Details will be announced in the Spring, but plan to book this date in your calendar now! Let us know your thoughts on this event – what you would like to do, who you would like to hear, where you would like to stay by leaving a COMMENT below. We hope you will cancel that Saturday studio teaching day from your 2012/13 calendar and join us!
From the meeting, our evening moved on to a buffet dinner that was a lovely presentation of roast beef, fresh pasta, green salad, a cheese platter and a variety of sweets and chocolates for dessert. The wine on the table was flowing and everyone had the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones!
During dessert, Co-Vice President of Special events, Elizabeth McDonald introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Mr. Tom Diamond by saying:
“By process of the seven degrees of separation of Canadian Opera, we all know Tom already. In fact we really only need one degree of separation – either you have already worked with Tom directly or know someone who has … By the way he directs an opera, Tom has at once a bachelor of humor, a master of psychology, a doctorate in acting technique and a lifetime as a four star military general …This evening Tom has agreed to share with us ways to help our students delve into the characters of their songs, to demand more of our students in their final presentation of their repertoire and to push our students to be better than they thought they could be by finding their true fullness of being.”
Tom’s talk was an eye opener for all of us present whether we had worked with him or not!
Through hilarious personal stories and amusing antidotes, Tom posed the questions:
“What is acting?
Why do our opera training programs not have acting coaches? Why do our singers not know the technique of acting?”
He positioned that we don’t need more singers in the world, we need more artists. And from there, Tom discussed first the methods of acting and the various ideas and processes for gathering technique.
During the second section of his talk Tom answered those questions with an overview of his personal ideas of how to motivate and train a singer. When working with a singer he poses the following questions about the character/role: 1. Who am I?
2. What is my relations to….(objects, people, etc)?
3. Where am I?
4. What time is it (historical context)?
5. What do I want?
His ultimate question for any character is “What is my SUPER INTENTION?” What is the over lying theme of the story that motivates all actions of that character?
A well laid out and inspiring talk that befits the excellent stage director that he is, Tom Diamond was a thrill to hear live in such an intimate setting! His talk was finished with a gracious thank you from Chapter President Catherine Robbin and the evening adjourned to more coffee and informal discussion.
Of course this is only a quick bite of the many conversations had by those present. I could hear ideas being shared, recitals being planned and people meeting their colleagues for the first time.
You will get detailed minutes of the meeting at a later date however, feel free to share your feedback on the evening, your favorite TOM-ism, something that you were surprised to learn, a person you were excited to meet or any thoughts that will help us plan future events in the COMMENTS section below!
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the spring meeting on May 5, 2012 – stay tuned for more details!
Photos courtesy of Mei Lee.