Holden Voice Program
In 1958, an innovative program of voice study was initiated at Harvard under the guidance of Mark Pearson in cooperation with Elliot Forbes. The program was created to improve the choral sound of the Harvard choral groups. Since the program's inception, good singing techniques have been taught to singers of all levels enabling them to have an enjoyable and productive choral experience. In 2006 a pan-Holden voice recital was established to give singers a chance to perform as soloists for their peers.
Students who sing with the Holden Choral ensembles are encouraged to take voice lessons during the school year. All voice students are eligible to apply for subsidies from either Office for the Arts, the Shattuck Fund or the Holden Voice Fund to help defray the cost of their lessons. Subsidies typically cover up to half of the cost of lessons.
Teacher Contact Information
Marsha Vleck, soprano
Sarah Whitten, soprano
Charles Blandy, tenor
Donald Wilkinson, baritone
Marsha Vleck, soprano, has been the Director of the Holden Voice Program since 1964. In addition to her teaching at Harvard, she was Instructor of Voice at University of Massachusetts at Lowell for ten years and has been Instructor of Voice at College of Holy Cross since 1981. Her students can be found singing and teaching both here and abroad. She holds a B.Mus from Oberlin College, an M.M. and the coveted Artist Diploma from New England Conservatory and completed Doctoral studies at Boston University. She studied and performed at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. In addition to appearing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston and New York City, and many civic orchestras as an oratorio soloist, she has performed song recitals throughout the eastern U.S., Canada, Austria and Italy. In the Boston area, she was soloist with the Cantata Singers, the Harvard Choral Groups, Boris Goldovsky Opera, and the Boston Opera under Sara Caldwell, as well as many choral groups. As a member of the Boston Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), she served as Vice-President for six years. For four years she was a board member of Youth Pro Musica.
Sarah Whitten, soprano, recently appeared as Lauretta in Cape Cod Opera's August 2005 production of Gianni Schicchi. In May of 2005 she made her debut with Intermezzo Opera as First Knitter in Seymour Barab's Game of Chance. Additional appearances with Cape Cod Opera include Die Fledermaus and, The Golden Age of Operetta for which she received praise from The Cape Cod Times. Additional operatic roles include First Tourieres in Suor Angelica, Micaela in Carmen, Girl in Trouble in Tahiti and Beth in Little Women. Ms. Whitten is a frequent soloist, appearing around the New England area in art song recitals and concerts. She was most recently seen in the Tsunami Relief concert sponsored by the Brookline Music School Faculty Recital Series and also sang in its acclaimed concert, Music from Italy, performing duets and arias from popular Italian operas. In March of 2004 she made her film debut in the role of Diva Soprano in the film, Poet, premiered at the Aidekman Arts Center at Tufts University. She was recently a finalist in both the NATSAA and Palm Beach Atlantic competitions. In addition to performing she works as the Choral Administrator at Harvard University where she also teaches voice lessons to students in the Holden Voice Program and Choir In Progress, an introduction to choral singing class. Ms Whitten holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy, both from Ohio State University. She completed additional studies at Chautauqua Institution Summer Voice Program, Oberlin in Italy Program and OperaFest Boston. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and writes the vocal health pages for Boston Singers Resource.
Charles Blandy, tenor, received praise from Opera News and the Boston Globe for his performance as Francis Flute in Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream at Tanglewood, In 2003 he appeared in the world premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar at Tanglewood. He later reprised the role at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. He made his company debut with Opera Boston this season, appearing in Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne and Gluck's Alceste to critical acclaim. Mr. Blandy was a finalist in the 2005 Oratorio Society of New York solo competition. Recent concert appearances include Handel's Messiah with the Charlotte Symphony and Handel Choir of Baltimore. He is often a soloist with the Cantata Singers in Boston, with whom he has sung Bach's St. John Passion, Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust and Bach's St. Matthew Passion. His performance of Jorge Liderman's Song of Songs with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (now a Bridge Records CD), was called "sterling" by the San Francisco Chronicle. A CD of songs by American composer Arthur Berger on the Arsis label is forthcoming. He has sung works of Daniel Pinkham, Francis Poulenc, and Arthur Honegger with the Florestan Recital Project. He now teaches in Harvard University's Holden Voice Program. In 2003 and 2004, he was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was awarded the Grace B. Jackson prize. He received his Master's Degree from Indiana University, where he studied voice with Alan Bennett and Lied repertoire with Leonard Hokanson, and has studied at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England. In Chicago he studied with Ronald Combs and Winifred Brown. He is a native of Troy, NY, and graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in religion.
Donald Wilkinson, baritone, enjoys a distinguished career in concert, opera, oratorio, recital and contemporary music, appearing throughout the United States and Canada. In 1995 he made his European debut performing the role of Dionysos in the World premiere of Theodore Antoniou's opera, The Bacchae, at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Since that debut he has appeared in Germany, France, and Holland. Mr. Wilkinson has performed as soloist with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood and the Handel and Haydn Society (a U.S. tour of Bach's Missa Brevis in G Minor) and the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Springfield (MA), Portland (ME), and Vermont. Since 1984 he has been a soloist in Emmanuel Music's famed Bach Cantata Series under the direction of Craig Smith. In 2003 he made his debut at the Northwest Bach Festival (Spokane) in Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Mozart's Requiem under the direction of Gunther Schuller. He has also appeared at the Bach Festivals of Carmel and Philadelphia, and is featured on Emmanuel Music's recordings (Koch International Classics) of Bach's Christmas Cantatas, St. John Passion and Cantatas for the 1st and 2nd Sundays After Trinity. His Discography also includes the title role on the internationally acclaimed Johnny Johnson by Kurt Weill on Erato Disques, Angels with the Boston Camerata (Erato), John Harbison's Recordare on Koch International Classics, David Patterson's song cycle LAST WORDS on Albany Records and the recently released The Jesuit Operas with Ensemble Abendmusik on Dorian Recordings. In 1990 he was awarded a fellowship to Tanglewood. Mr. Wilkinson teaches voice in Harvard University's Holden Voice Program, Phillips Academy Andover and maintains a private studio at his residence in Nahant, MA.