Summer Vocal Music Academy returns to UM-Flint

The University of Michigan-Flint Summer Vocal Academy of Music returned to the downtown campus beginning July 11, continuing to offer instruction in music with an emphasis on choral and solo singing.

Students in grades seven through 12 work with experienced music instructors in an effort to grow musically and artistically. Students are immersed in music classes , via daily six-hour sessions, on the university campus.

Attendees standing on risers with piano accompaniment.
Working together to create a choir performance (Photo courtesy: Gabriela Hristova, associate professor of music)

The academy curriculum includes a mixed choir consisting of soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices, a soprano and alto ensemble, and a tenor and bass ensemble. Vocal technique, musical theater, and marimba choir are also part of the curriculum. Academy students are exposed to choral and vocal music of various styles, as well as vocal training, while also striving to work together toward the artistic goals of the program during a two-week period.

The program was first introduced by Carolyn Mawby, who was one of the founding members of the UM-Flint music program. Gabriela Hristova, associate professor of music, took over as program director in 2010.

 student refers to their sheet music during the Summer Vocal Academy program
A student refers to their sheet music during the Summer Vocal Academy program.

Throughout its brief history, some academy students have returned as instructors. For example, Garth Starr is now an instructor for the academy choirs and the men’s ensemble.

“Attending the academy opened a door for me to attend UM-Flint,” said Starr who credits the experience with giving him a familiarity with the university’s musical spaces and allowing him to make professional connections with instructors in the music program.

“If not for the academy, there’s a good chance I would not have pursued a career in music,” said Starr.

The academy will conclude with a concert highlighting the efforts of both the students and their instructors at 6 p.m., July 22, at United Methodist Church, 225 W. Court Street, Flint.

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