Yes, in quotations. Because it’s not, really, strictly speaking, a “Master Class”. The training of most young singers includes a few run-ins with something called a Master Class, in which a famous singer humiliates students in front of a paying audience while pretending to impart the musical wisdom of the ages.
Sorry, that was a little harsh. Truly, it’s not often that bad, and often the system does work. I know some colleagues who do wonderful master classes.
Today’s seminar, though, was a bit different. Three of our singers were on the panel, and four high school and college-age singers were the students. It was a chance for the younger singers to perform in front of an encouraging and well-meaning audience, and then to get some advice and feedback from the panel. We do this primarily because our folks remember so vividly what it was like to be 17, and they are great at offering advice about things like college, finding a voice teacher, choosing a summer apprentice program, and deciding if you really want to be a singer. The perenially surprising thing is that our singers love this more than anyone else in the room, and they’re always bursting with good will and encouragement.