When McGill University announced that Fall 2020 activities will be offered predominantly through remote delivery, Schulich’s professors went to work preparing innovative new courses that would temporarily replace most large and small ensembles. In this article, we highlight Prof. Jean-Sébastien Vallée’s plans for McGill Choral Studies, including the launch of ReVoice.
ReVoice is an ambitious series of activities led by world-renowned artists meant to re-think, re-discover, re-invent, re-create, and re-shape choral music. In addition to discussing masterworks, historical and stylistic approaches, new music, extended techniques, and ensemble pedagogies, it will also tackle several important issues related to programming, diversity, and inclusion. With the guidance of 23 guests and through weekly projects, ReVoice will explore important topics including cultural appropriation, anti-racism in classical music, transgender singing voice transition, and working with indigenous artists.
After a few months in isolation and lockdown, Prof. Vallée saw a need to produce extravagant activities in the Fall to help maintain connections while apart. With issues in equity, diversity, inclusion, and mental health coming to the forefront, it became clear to him that the field of classical music had to engage with the current conversations happening in the world. ReVoice challenges the traditional lens of the industry and reconfigures the voicing so that all voices can be fully heard.
“Revoicing isn’t about changing anyone’s voice, but rather reconfiguring the voicing so that all voices can be fully heard.” – Prof. Jean-Sébastien Vallée
In the first edition, Prof. Vallée has brought in colleagues and friends who have deeply influenced and shaped his work. Examples of guests include Dr. Alexander Lloyd Blake, Music Director of the social justice choir Tonality in Los Angeles and one of the authors of the Black Voices Matter pledge as well as Ari Agha and Laura Hynes of project “The Key of T: Exogenous Testosterone and the Transgender Singing Voice”. A full list of guests, including a few of Schulich’s own, can be found on McGill Choral Studies’ Facebook Page.
The final project of the Fall Ensemble Skills for Singers course will be a portfolio comprised of 30-minute concert programmes created by each student and exemplifying each student’s understanding and view on equity, diversity and inclusion. This will allow those involved to discover and discuss a vast array of music in addition to offering programming resources for all musicians interested in ensemble music.
Participating in ReVoice
ReVoice activities will mainly be offered as part of two Schulich School of Music courses: Ensemble Skills for Singers (MUPG 474-004 & MUPG 674-004) and the Graduate Choral Conducting Tutorials. Students outside of these courses who are interested in participating should fill out this form. Follow McGill Choral Studies on Facebook to stay updated on upcoming events.