Tabor College to host first opera conference on campus

For the first time, the West Central Region of the National Opera Association will gather on the campus of Tabor College on Sept. 29.

Conference sessions in the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts will address topics of interest for seasoned opera directors, singers and pianists as well as sessions that are considered “student friendly” by introducing students to new ideas they may not have had opportunity to engage in their current programs of study.

Copeland Woodruff, director of opera at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wis., will serve as clinician and artist-in-residence for the day’s opera scenes showcase. Students will be paired with a director and collaborative pianist and given the day to put their pre-assigned scene together for an afternoon performance.

Directors will have the opportunity to have their scene coached by Woodruff after the morning rehearsals.

During the conference, 23 singers and five student pianists from seven Kansas colleges and universities — including 11 singers and two pianists from Tabor — will work with opera directors from around the country on scenes they will then perform at the Opera Scenes Showcase at 4:30 p.m. The Showcase performance is free and open to the public.

“We’re very excited to host this event at Tabor,” said Jen Stephenson, Tabor assistant professor of music and director of vocal studies. “It’s going to be a wonderful day of music making and learning, and it’s so exciting to have the chance to show off our new building to opera professionals who will be visiting from Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Alabama and Georgia, as well as those from throughout Kansas.