Sunday, March 21, 2010


Dr. Nancy Leinonen Howells and Collaborative Pianist Thomas Dawkins will teach a two-week art song seminar at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts, Monday through Friday, July 12 – 23, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

The seminar will cover the language, the performance practice, and style of the art song.  Two songs, one in English and one in French, Italian, or German will be assigned by Dr. Howells upon admittance to the class.
These songs can be done by more than one voice type - most art song (not all) is not gender specific, and can be found in multiple keys. Voice classification is usually not of consideration, unless the song is orchestrated, or one of those cycles that is exclusively male or female. Every singer will work on two pieces, but will learn about the rest of the songs, in a sort of "tasting menu" that allows them to have thoughts about whether these are things they'd like to do themselves in the future.  Participants will gain knowledge of 10 or more art songs. 

The seminar is limited to 10 singers.  Tuition is $180, payable with application.
To apply send check made payable to “Chelmsford Center for the Arts” with your name, address, telephone number/email address, voice category to:

Chelmsford Center for the Arts
1A North Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824

Dr. Nancy Leinonen Howells, originally from Michigan, began her voice training at Central Michigan University, where she earned the Bachelor of Music in voice.  She continued her voice studies at The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), where she earned the Master of Music in voice, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in voice, with studies in vocal pedagogy.  While at the University of Michigan, Nancy served as adjunct faculty, and taught degree candidates in the BFA program for Music Theatre, and in the BME program for music education.  She also served as co-teacher of the vocal pedagogy class.  Dr. Howells has appeared as soloist with the Boston Cecilia, the Assabet Valley Mastersingers, Mass Theatrica, and The New England Light Opera, and the Ocean Park (Maine) Association.  She has performed as a recitalist in Boston, Cambridge, Sudbury, and  Newton.  In 1996, she received a grant from MIT to premiere a new work by composer Matthew Fields (Crossroads), and in 1997, received an “Artists Behind the Desk” grant from MIT.  Prior to moving to Massachusetts, Nancy sang with the North Central Symphony Orchestra of Michigan, the Central Michigan University Orchestra, and the Bay View Opera.  Operatic roles include Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Kathleen in Riders to the Sea, Nella in Gianni Schicchi, and the title role in Suor Angelica.  In addition to performance, Dr. Howells teaches at Indian Hill, in the Weston High School after-school arts program, and in her private studio.  Recent students have gone on to pursue voice degrees at Boston Conservatory (Bachelors and Masters programs), Duke University, Brigham Young University, Carnegie Mellon University, Elon University, Boston University and The University of Michigan. 

Mr. Thomas Dawkins, collaborative pianist and vocal coach, has worked with many top teachers in and around Boston. He was the Vocal Seminar pianist at The Longy School of Music for instructors Jean Danton and Lynn Torgove, among others. He has played for masterclasses at Longy and New England Conservatory (including for Sondra Kelley), and last summer taught a class with D’Anna Fortunato focusing on audition prep for singers. He is currently Robert Honeysucker’s studio pianist at the Lexington School of Music. A graduate of Brandeis University with Highest Honors, he is also a classical singer with such groups as the Handel and Haydn Society, Longwood Opera, and New Hampshire Opera Theater. He is the organist and choir director of the Congregational Church of Harvard, UCC.

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