The Napa Music Festival has officially come to a close. The singers and staff have been sent home. The facilities have been locked up. The songs have been sung. The stage makeup and costumes have been put away. After a good night’s sleep and a healthy home-cooked meal, it’s time to reflect back on the past 24 days. This summer was a whirlwind of performing, learning, and growing. Being sleep-deprived and in hyper-drive the entire time, it’s difficult to recognize the progress you are making along the way. But when you return home and suddenly the pieces fall into place, you realize how much you have changed in such a short period of time.
My voice has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the course of this festival. The instructors have helped me to unlock new depth and power in my voice. They’ve unleashed the beast, let it out of its cage, and officially changed my fach to lyrico spinto. My baby dramatic soprano voice is getting stronger, fuller, and more comfortable. While, yes, there are physical technique changes being made to release tension and bring my full voice out, the biggest change is psychological. It has been a long struggle vocally to get to where I am today. During my 4 years of undergraduate training I was forced to conform into the tiny soubrette voice they assumed I should be. This turned me into a nervous wreck of trying to be something I wasn’t. I didn’t have enough understanding of technique, my voice, or my body to realize the harm I was doing to myself and my idea of who I was. It’s taken another 6 years to find my vocal support, let go of the tension I created while trying to restrain my voice, and find freedom once again.
This summer, I felt like I finally had my vocal technique in order, but a final step remained… I needed to trust that my voice was big, powerful, loud, and resonant. This year, the amazing teachers I worked with gave me the permission and support to take the plunge into this new adventure. Even with all the performing, all the stage training, and all the acting experience, the greatest thing I take from this festival is the belief that I no longer need to apologize for my volume, my strength, and my power. The beast is free. Watch out world.