VOX 3 builds bridges between branches of art, culture, and history by focusing on three types of vocal music:
Art Song, Opera, and Cabaret.
CHICAGO is a city alive with small performing arts companies, from storefront theatre to shoestring opera ensembles. Yet it seems many companies take their audiences for granted, and arts groups continue to fragment into smaller niche groups. While it is important for companies to provide an artistic outlet for young artists, it is also important that companies also gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the audience to understand their craft. The increasing disparity between popular and art music traditions is resulting in older audiences, artless crossover attempts, and cultural snobbery from both sides. Acknowledging the active role an audience plays in art music, and aiding that audience in their understanding of the various elements of the music will reclaim art music as a living art. We will accomplish this by focusing our energies on three main types of vocal music: art song, opera, and cabaret. All of these performance styles will be accompanied by a strong educational component, in learning new works or languages, writing about programmed repertoire, and presenting special events from master classes to book discussions.
ART SONG is a genre of music frequently relegated to the conservatories and training programs for young singers—and then abandoned for the opera stage until a singer’s name is sufficiently established for them to draw a packed house. In those interim years between college and career, VOX 3 believes that art song provides the perfect avenue for a singer to hone their language, interpretation, and presentation skills. There are no lights, costumes, sets, or characters to hide behind. The power of the music comes solely from the performers: the magical interplay between singer and accompanist.
As OPERA is one of the more recognized forms of art music today, singers must also learn to excel in this art form. While there are significantly more opportunities for singers in opera, the same pieces are performed over and over—for every time Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia is performed, Rossini’s version appears at least twenty times more. And yet smaller, more obscure works have significant musical, theatrical, and historical merit. Our opera series includes programs of scenes, concert performances, and fully staged productions. Operatic works presented by VOX 3 span the breadth of music history, enabling performers to learn the differences in preparing roles from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. Audiences benefit from hearing and learning about works otherwise obscured by age or difficulty.
CABARET allows members to develop comedic performance skills and broaden their comfortability in crossing genres. Further, it allows the collective to take advantage of the vibrant Chicago nightlife, working in nontraditional venues and reaching audience members who otherwise might not seek out concerts of art music. Every cabaret incorporates music from a blend of traditions: classical, pop, music theatre, jazz, and folk. These styles are spun together around a central theme with comedic sketches, monologues, audience participation bits, and performed with panache.
Finally, EDUCATION is the most important part of our ensemble’s efforts. This education is applied to both performers and audience. Though American Idol has started elevating young singers out of obscurity, it is becoming increasingly harder for singers in the field of classical vocal music to bridge the gap from student to star. While our ensemble does not purport to be a star-making force, we intend to provide opportunities for singers to continue learning and performing after earning their degrees. Exposing audiences to rare music is only the beginning. Moving beyond the cornerstones of the German masters, we explore various traditions of music-making, from art music of diverse nations to jazz and folk music. Further, we create connections for our audience through an ensemble publication related to our programs. Our members study topics which impact their interpretations and share this newfound knowledge through their writing. Pre-concert lectures by esteemed experts enhance audience appreciation of composer’s craft and performer’s art.