Summer School for the Solo Voice hosts 22nd program

Lisa Hornung’s Summer School for the Solo Voice continues to be a music lover’s go-to in the Battlefords.

The program took place July 6 to 13 this year in North Battleford. Participants were exposed to and practiced a number of vocal musical genres, including jazz, opera, art song and musical theatre.

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Instruction and entertainment was provided by a number of well-known performers and clinicians from North Battleford and abroad, including Paul Suchan and Laurence Ewashko.

This year, Eric Paetkau, musical director of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, was a summer school staff member. 

In addition to its other offerings, the program featured a class on music for movies, with an emphasis on music of the silent movie era. Featured was the screening of a silent movie with faculty member Robert Hall accompanying the action on the piano while everyone enjoyed popcorn.

Jazz singing this year was accompanied by a jazz combo featuring bass, drums and a trumpet player.

Sixty-six students took part this year, ranging in age from seven to 85.

“For me, it’s so enriching and so gratifying to see the growth [among students], no matter what age or what level they’re at,” program founder Lisa Hornung said.

Horning said 66 is a good number of students for the program, given that there are 15 instructors. Previous years have seen more than 100 students, which proved to be difficult to manage, Hornung said.

The summer school took place at the Third Avenue United Church, which Hornung said is a perfect venue for the program. There are plenty of performance and rehearsal spaces, numerous pianos and a kitchen.

Home cooked meals by Hornung’s husband John Chipak have come to be a main attraction of the school.

Hornung said she’ll likely keep the status quo for a few years, and possibly do something different for the program’s 25th anniversary.

Hornung thanked volunteers and those who sponsored and donated to the school. Costs would be higher if not for the support of local organizations and she believes everyone should have access to music.

“The support we get from the community is just magnificent,” Hornung said.

Founded by local opera singer and voice instructor Lisa Hornung in 1997, SSSV has grown in size and stature over the years, adding new programs and faculty, and is known as one of the most unique musical retreats in the world.

The school also features free concerts for the public.

All photos by Averil Hall.

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