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Count Me In: Inspiring Young Singers

On October 17 and 18, renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato led master classes for middle school singers participating in the Count Me In program, offering tips and encouragement for their upcoming auditions to performing arts high schools. Count Me In meets the needs of New York City middle school singers, many of whom have never studied music before and whose schools do not have established choral programs. Eighth grade students from across the city receive afterschool instruction and training in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing. Sixty kids participated in Count Me In this year and are currently auditioning for high schools through December. We wish them the best of luck!

Two participants, Priya and Rue, describe their inspiration for singing and taking part in Count Me In:

Count Me In: Joyce and Priya Tejpal (Richard Termine)
Priya Tejpal:

“It has been my dream to be a singer my entire life. Singing gives me a way to express my emotions. I auditioned for Count Me In because I knew that it would help me become a better singer. I like the idea of working with others because I believe you can learn from other people’s experiences. I have always wanted to get into a performing arts high school and I was wondering about the process. Count Me In really helps with everything you need to know regarding the audition. Count Me In has taught me different ways of breathing, sight reading, and basic rhythm skills. Going into high school, I am looking forward to meeting other people who love music as much as I do.”

Count Me In: Joyce and Rue Hocke (Richard Termine)
Rue Hocke:

“I’ve loved music since I was pretty young, memorizing song lyrics and singing along to the music. I wanted to audition because of my love for music and because people kept telling me that I should pursue vocal music, even though I’m still not completely sure if that’s what I want to do. I came to Count Me In not just to work on auditioning skills, but to work on general vocal technique as well. So far, I’ve learned how to improve the manner in which I sing and how to properly present myself while singing.”

Photography: Richard Termine

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