Art Programs

Summer Voices: Singing and Songwriting

RL’s Summer Voices program is a comprehensive approach for young people interested in making music with their voices—from writing it to performing it—and includes two components over the three weeks: singing and songwriting. The course will take place in Roxbury Latin’s own state-of-the-art Evans Choral Room, where RL’s talented student musicians rehearse throughout the year, supported by modern audio and recording technology at their fingertips.

One of the most rewarding team endeavors is ensemble choral singing! Bringing voices together to rehearse and refine a sound—to make music together—is a cooperative process that results in a meaningful experience for performers and audience alike. In Summer Voices: Singing and Songwriting, young people will sing a variety of musical styles, from traditional folk songs to contemporary popular pieces, both accompanied and a cappella. They will learn the fundamentals of ensemble singing: unison and harmony parts, unified vowels, breathing and phrasing, ensemble rhythm, and blend and balance within and among voice parts. Workshops on solo singing and vocal percussion will be incorporated into rehearsals. At the end of the three-week session, campers will perform a short concert for fellow students, staff, and parents. No prior experience is required—just an interest and desire to sing!

Think of your favorite songs, or even just those really catchy tunes that you find caught in your brain all day. How do songwriters go about creating those works? Good songs combine melody, lyrics, and chord progressions perfectly to convey a sentiment that is genuine and moving. Over the three weeks, campers will discover multiple ways of approaching the creative process of songwriting: beginning with original or sourced lyrics and then adding a melody and chords; beginning with the melody and then adding chords and lyrics; or beginning with a chord progression or riff and then adding melodic and lyric elements. Additional topics such as song structure, instrumentation, parody sing lyrics, and a cappella arranging will be incorporated into the course. At the end of three weeks, each student will have a portfolio of song ideas and a variety of strategies for developing as a songwriter—that first album can’t be too far away!

Rob Opdycke has been a member of the Roxbury Latin faculty since 1999, where he is Director of Music and conducts the school’s esteemed Glee Club and Junior Chorus. He is also faculty advisor to RL’s longstanding a capella group The Latonics, working with the students weekly on their repertoire and arrangements. Outside of school, Rob is a long-time member of Similar Jones, a vocal rock band that last spring was invited to be part of Boston Sings 2018 Professional Showcase. Rob earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, where he studied music theory, composition, and choral conducting.

For: Boys and Girls, ages 10-14

Weeks Available: July 8-July 26, 2019 (three week commitment)

Time: 10:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m. or 12:15-1:45 p.m. or 2-3:30 p.m.

Cost: $699 for three weeks