Gina Picerno is the Director of the Choral Fellows and Scholars Program.
Ms. Picerno studied at New England Conservatory in Boston receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. She has been involved in performing sacred music in churches throughout Rhode Island and Massachesetts from a young age, working with many renowned directors and organists. She was a member of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale, and as also appeared in opera performances with Artist’s Internationale in Rhode Island and in musical theatre productions at Giordano’s Dinner Theatre in Massachesetts.
Ms. Picerno has attended the McClosky Institute for Voice and continues to study vocal technique. She has been singing and coaching the choir in vocal technique at First Baptist Church for over 20 years as well as teaching piano and voice privately. Ms. Picerno also holds a Masters of Education in Early Childhood from Lesley University and teaches at The Centre School in Milton, where she has implemented a music curriculum for toddler and preschool age children.
She has studied voice with Susan Clickner and Bonnie Pomfret. She has sung under the direction of and in collaboration with Lorna Cooke DeVaron, Donald Polumbo, Ronald Morris, and Alexander Peloquin.
David Owens is an experienced composer, pianist, organist, conductor and accompanist. He has worked as a collaborative artist with hundreds of singers and instrumentalists, as well as appearing as a piano and organ soloist, in chamber music, and as a conductor.
Mr Owens is also a widely-read music journalist, having received the Deems Taylor Award for Distinguished Music Criticism from the American performing rights society, ASCAP. He has published and networked widely on the subject of contemporary music, including radio work, lectures and panels. He has acted as a consultant on the subject to such organisations as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the American Symphony Orchestra League.
His compositions have been played and sung by a number of chamber ensembles, orchestras, choruses and soloists. Included among his works: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra; The Shores of Peace (chorus and chamber orchestra); Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano; Double Concerto for Tuba, Euphonium and Orchestra, and an opera in three acts, Jonah. Performers of his music in the New England area have included the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, the M.I.T. Wind Ensemble, the Cambridge Madrigal Singers, the Arlington/Belmont Chorale, the U.S. Coast Guard Band (New London, CT), the Longy Sinfonietta, as well as a number of individual players and singers.
The Albany Records catalogue lists a CD recording of several of Mr Owens’ works
The First Baptist Church of Medford, with generous support from the Boston Baptist Social Union, is delighted to announce the second season of the Choral Fellows and Scholars Program. This program is designed to promote appreciation and love for traditional sacred music and to cultivate a new generation of outstanding choir leaders in service to the Church
The CFS Program supports the integral work of the parish choir, and at its core it has two components:
In light of COVID-19, lessons, services, and performances will be at least partially online or in an electronic format for parts of the 2020-2021 Season. While this challenge poses many difficulties, it also makes new kinds of collaborations possible in exciting and energizing ways.
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ROLLING ADMISSION WITH AUDITIONS HELD ONLINE NOW
The (3) Choral Fellows are on analogy to what some choirs have called “soloists,” “section leaders,” or “ringers” with a decidedly educational focus. Each Choral Fellow will be offered a CF Stipend, and will be assigned two Choral Scholars to mentor in the choir, and to whom they will give three 1-hour voice lessons per month for the duration of the program.
The ideal candidates would be advanced conservatory/music students or graduates, who, in addition to having demonstrated technical skills, also have interest in developing their skills as teachers and vocal coaches. They will be chosen according to their voice range: high (soprano/alto) or low (tenor/bass/baritone).
The (6) Choral Scholars might be called “soloists-in-training.” The Choral Scholars will be offered a modest CS Stipend to defray incidental expenses, and in return for their service to the choir will receive private voice instruction at least twice a month from their assigned Choral Fellow and from the CFS Director, Ms. Gina Picerno.
The ideal candidates would be promising students in college or beginning conservatory (exceptional candidates from high school may also apply) who wish to receive high quality vocal training and to immerse themselves in the literature of traditional choral music. They will be chosen according to their voice range: high (soprano/alto) or low (tenor/bass/baritone).
The Choral Fellows and Scholars will also provide support and encouragement to the volunteers in the church choir through their regular participation in this “live-lab” of singers.
The program year roughly follows the Academic Year and runs from the 2nd Sunday of September to the 1st Sunday of June. This entails approximately 38 services. Approval of the Sundays/services to be missed must be granted by director of the CFS program, Ms. Gina Picerno.
The Choral Fellows will receive a yearly stipend of $4877. Roughly, this breaks down to:
$75 X 30 mandatory events = $2250
$50 X 27 lessons (3 per month, 9 months) = $1350
The Choral Scholars will receive 1-to-1 lessons, 1-to-2 lessons, and group coaching valued at over $1500 in kind. In addition, they will receive a yearly stipend of $200 to defray costs of travel, sheet music, and other expenses.
REHEARSALS AND EXPECTATIONS
Under normal circumstances the Choir rehearses twice a week: Thursdays, 7:30–9:00PM
COVID-19 has obviously changed this and the shape and schedule of participation are matters of ongoing development/
Approval of the rehearsals to be missed must be granted by director of the CFS program, Ms. Gina Picerno.
ZOOM AUDITION REQUIREMENTS
A video of a prepared song, and if auditioning for a Fellow position, an aria in the classical style Zoom based sight-singing to include a hymn
Vocalizations at the discretion of the audition panel
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