At the Academy: A roundup of free events

At the Academy: Catch rising singing stars, learn about your voice, and find out how diseases evolve

2013-09-12T00:00:00Z At the Academy: Catch rising singing stars, learn about your voice, and find out how diseases evolveSubmitted by Academy Village Arizona Daily Star
September 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Sept. 17

5 singers to preview

Arizona Opera season

Members of the Arizona Opera Studio Artists will appear in a midday concert at the Arizona Senior Academy from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. They will perform selections from the upcoming 2013-14 Arizona Opera season as well as selections from their own repertoire.

Established during the 2007-08 Arizona Opera season, the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio Program supports promising young singers as they develop their skills and prepare for the demands and challenges of an operatic career.

In residence all season, Studio Artists can be seen performing both in mainstage productions and throughout Arizona. The studio also provides well-rounded, personalized instruction designed to propel each artist to the next level. Last season, studio members were the principal singers in a workshop of a new opera by Craig Bohmler, “Riders of the Purple Sage,” based on Zane Gray’s classic Western novel.

The Studio Artists who will be performing at the Arizona Senior Academy include five singers and one pianist.

Soprano Andrea Shokery will perform the roles of Musetta in La Bohème and Norina in Don Pasquale this season.

Mezzo-soprano Beth Lytwynec joins the studio to sing Flora in “La Traviata” and Mary in “The Flying Dutchman.”

Tenor David Margulis returns for a second season with the studio to sing Gastone in “La Traviata” and Ernesto in “Don Pasquale.”

Baritone Chris Carr will sing Schaunard in “La Bohème” and Malatesta in “Don Pasquale” this season.

Bass-baritone Calvin Griffin will be featured at Arizona Opera as Colline in “La Bohème” and Dr. Grenvil in “La Traviata.”

Pianist-coach Nyle Matsuoka will be an integral part of the Arizona Opera music staff for four mainstage productions this season, following his summer as a coaching fellow at Wolf Trap Opera.

This concert is sponsored by Arizona Senior Academy members Suzanne and Jed Kee.

Leslie Nitzberg

Sept. 18

Talk to explore unique aspects of human voice

“Why do I sound like me?” is a question we may all ask.

Jeremy N. Manternach, an assistant professor of music education at the University of Arizona, will discuss that question in a 3:30 p.m. lecture Wednesday at the Arizona Senior Academy.

As part of his studies in choral pedagogy, Manternach has researched how each person’s oral and cranial physiology process the acoustic energy generated in the voice box. The result imparts a “voice print” as unique as our fingerprints.

“Each human voice is so distinctive that our friends can identify us without even seeing our faces. Yet the differences in our vocal cords do not fully account for our vocal individuality,” he said.

Manternach received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 2012 in music education/choral pedagogy. In his current position at the UA, he teaches Introduction to Music Education, Methods and Techniques for Secondary Choral Music, Advanced Studies in Music Teaching: Science-Based Voice Education, and Introduction to Music Education Research.

He also organizes and conducts the University of Arizona Wildcat Outreach Choir and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing.

Fritz Reinagel

Sept. 19

Talk: How disease evolves with humans

About 160,000 years ago our human species, Homo sapiens, became separate from other humanlike species. From then till now, our ancestors lived mostly as foragers: hunting animals and gathering edible products of plants.

Natural selection acted relentlessly on our forebears during this long period, favoring survival of those who could thrive on a diet provided by hunting and gathering. Only recently, approximately 12,000 years ago, humans became agriculturalists, in what is called the Neolithic revolution.

Humans thrived and their numbers increased greatly when they developed the ability to grow corn, potatoes, melons and other plants. They began to live closer together in settlements, and in contact with newly domesticated animals.

Living in large groups, and depending on new foods, had consequences for our species. Disease became a significant factor in human survival, and the change in diet affected human lifespan.

The speaker at the Arizona Senior Academy next Thursday is a scientist who has devoted his studies to understanding how the Neolithic revolution, and the subsequent industrial revolution, affected humans and continue to affect the lives of all of us.

James T. Watson is assistant curator of bioarcheology at the Arizona State Museum and holds a joint appointment as assistant professor in the University of Arizona Department of Anthropology. He will present his insights into how natural selection of our human ancestors translates to current human biology and disease.

His research and that of his colleagues has demonstrated, for example, the deleterious effect on women caused by the agricultural changes of the Neolithic revolution.

In his talk, titled “Evolution to Revolution: How Diseases Evolve with Humans,” he will use diabetes and tuberculosis as examples of prominent human cultural diseases, and indicate how this information holds meaning for current medicine.

Fred Neidhardt

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