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Centerstage

Faculty concert designed to entertain, build awareness of local program

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 1:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:59 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – Opera, violin, french horn and piano music as well as comedy all are on the program for the upcoming faculty concert Vero Voce School of Visual and Performing Arts will present at its 100-seat black box theater, 951 State Ave., St. Charles.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. March 30, event are $5.

“We purposely kept the admission price low in order to get people in the door and in order to make them aware of what we do,” said managing director Dawn Harkins, who founded the school in 2001.

Vero Voce specializes in private voice, piano lessons and musical theater coaching but over the years has expanded to include instrumental music lessons, early childhood music and a variety of theater courses, including improvisation and auditioning.

Harkins said the school’s 80 students come mainly from the Tri-Cities, though some hail from Aurora, Elgin, West Chicago and Elburn.

The upcoming program will feature Harkins, who earned a degree in vocal performance from Judson College in Elgin and has had extensive teaching, conducting and performance experience. She will sing “Glitter and Be Gay” from Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide.”

In addition, Harkins will perform a duet with Kayleen Sanchez, “The Flower Duet” from Lakmé, an opera by French composer Léo Delibes. Sanchez joined the Vero Voce staff in September after moving from New York, where she earned a master’s in vocal performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.Sanchez also will present a mirthful solo, an aria titled “The Lady with the Hand Mirror” from Dominick Argento’s opera “Postmark from Morocco.”

Among others demonstrating their talents will be violinist Kelvin Lin; french horn teacher Katie Johnson; and Chana Bernstein, who will perform a piece she wrote based on her memories of growing up in Israel.

Also on the program are Mike Krieglstein, guitar and bass instructor, and theater teacher David Rodriguez, who will pair up for a comedy routine with Dennis Brown, Harkins’s husband and business partner.

Vero Voce offers classes for a broad range of students, from its B#Sharp program, which helps parents bond with their newborns via song and movement; to Suzuki method violin classes, whose youngest student is a four-year-old,who began lessons a year ago. Next fall, Harkins hopes to introduce chamber music classes at the school.

During the first two weekends of April, a dozen students in the theater program each will play multiple characters as they present short stories on stage.

“I find it’s always interesting to meet people and help them to find their own voice," said Sanchez, who teaches 10 students from the age of nine to adulthood. She said she tries to instill in students an understanding that it’s perfectly acceptable to sound like themselves instead of trying to sound like somebody on the radio.

“I also work hard getting everyone comfortable with reading music, because it’s crucial if one expects to have a career in music. My students learn sight singing and ear training, vocal techniques and repertoire,” Sanchez said

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