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This is a special winter for the Juneau Lyric Opera as the group prepares for the 20th anniversary of their Mid-Winter Vocal Festival.
Juneau Lyric Opera has something to sing about 123108 AE 1 CCW Staff Writer This is a special winter for the Juneau Lyric Opera as the group prepares for the 20th anniversary of their Mid-Winter Vocal Festival.

Courtesy Of Randy Burton / Juneau Lyric Opera

In this 2003 photo, Dr. Byron McGilvray, right, prepares the singers for an evening concert. McGilvray, along with and master pianist and vocal coach Janis Capelle, make up the Mid-Winter Festival's faculty.

Ticket information

Tickets to the Jan. 9 performance are available at Hearthside Books or at the door. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Story last updated at 12/31/2008 - 11:46 am

Juneau Lyric Opera has something to sing about
Winter Vocal Festival celebrates 20 years

This is a special winter for the Juneau Lyric Opera as the group prepares for the 20th anniversary of their Mid-Winter Vocal Festival.

The festival will take place Jan. 2-9 at the Chapel by the Lake. It is open to singers of all skill levels and consists of a combination of workshops, master classes, private lessons and a group chorus.

The festival faculty consists of Dr. Byron McGilvray, a professor at Trinity Community College in Athens, Texas, and master pianist and vocal coach Janis Capelle, also from Texas. McGilvray was recruited to run the festival after a few JLO members took a workshop he was teaching at a Fairbanks art festival. They asked him to come teach in Juneau and he agreed. He has been coming every year since while on his winter break at the college.

"Byron was actually head of choral studies at San Francisco State when we first met him, then he retired and moved home to Texas," said Lena Simmons, who has been part of the festival since its conception. "He couldn't stand not teaching, so when the community college in his hometown said, 'Why don't you just come teach a class or two?' he jumped at the chance and now he's teaching full-time again."

Capelle was in Juneau for the first few workshops when she was studying with McGilvray. She has since received her doctorate and is the director of music ministry at First Christian Church in Athens, Texas.

The classes offered have changed a bit over the lifespan of the festival. In past years, other classes have been offered including conducting, music theory and sight-reading.

The Group Voice class is for beginners and will go over basic vocal techniques.

"If you've sung in the shower but you've never really sung in front of people before, this is the class to give you some basic grounding on how to do it," Simmons said.

In the Master Class, singers perform one or more prepared pieces in front of the class and instructors. After singing, they are critiqued on technique and interpretation and given suggestions on what could be done better.

"It's a chance to sing with your peers, before your peers," said Simmons.

The Festival Chorus is the big blowout, which has had as many as 99 singers in past years. The class consists of rehearsals throughout the week and culminates with a Festival Performance on Jan. 9. at 7:30 p.m. at the Chapel. The program includes "Ain't Got Time to Die" by Johnson, "Ave Maria" by Biebl, "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves"


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