To encourage people to speak up and use their voices, Dr. Adam Rubin brought “Voice Day” to Oakland University on Saturday, Jan. 13.
Rubin is the Director of the Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center as well as an accomplished author, professional actor and singer. On Saturday, he and his team of doctors spoke to a group of OU students to discuss “healthy singing and speaking.”
The presentation was set up for not only theatre and voice majors, but also for other students with majors that deal with voice presentation like teachers and public speakers. The presentation was focused on how one should use their voice, as well as tips to strengthen the voice for professional settings.
After Rubin’s group was done, professors worked with specific high school students selected to perform and receive constructive criticism. OU’s voice department was focused on recruiting future students from the high school groups present at the event.
“This [Voice Day] is to show students who we are and what we can do in hopes that they’ll join us,” Alta Dantzler, the primary coordinator of Voice Day, said.
Professors like Alta Dantzler, John-Paul White and Drake Dantzler were the main hosts for Voice Day. White has been at OU for 33 years and was the first to coordinate Voice Day back in the 1990s.
“We had master teachers, experts in voice and singers diction and well-known performers be a part of all Voice Day events,” White said. “We try to do the vocal help thing around every couple of years so that students can participate at some point in their four years here.”
After the presentations, attendees of Voice Day were treated to OU’s opera production, “Martha,” put on by OU’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
“A fun way to culminate since we’ve been talking about voices all day, to see what we can actually do with them,” White said of the production.
“‘Martha’ is perhaps different from what a student might be expecting when they hear the opera,” Drake Dantzler said. “It is a comedy, with comic hijinks as well as beautiful music. Our program is diverse and exciting. We serve both classical singers as well as music theatre singers, and our students are performing across the globe on major operatic stages, concert halls and Broadway shows and national tours.”
The performance of “Martha” was a full production and ran Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, which was Voice Day, and Sunday. The Saturday performance was open to the public, including those that did not attend Voice Day.
“Voice Day is a day where we celebrate the voice and its many uses,” Drake Dantzler said. “In the past, we have had guest artists, teachers and presenters. It is a day where the Oakland Voice Department is able bring information about voice use and vocal styles to the greater community. Voice Day has a natural synergy with an operatic performance, and we are always happy when the two events are able to work together.”