Liza Forrester KELLY is an active performing artist, stage director, and music educator.  She is an alumna of the Glimmerglass Opera Young Artist Program, the Ravinia Steans Institute, and the Carnegie Hall Weill Institute. Notable engagements include those with the New York Festival of Song, Joy in Singing, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, the Source Song Festival, Cincinnati Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and New York City Opera. She received her Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Liza is currently professor of voice and director of opera theater at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky and resident faculty at the Schmidt Vocal Institute. Materials used For the Sake of Artistry: Exploring Expressive Artistry with Young Vocalists are taken from Artistry in Art Song, a curriculum and handbook recently completed by Liza for high school and university vocalists.  

Linda McALISTER is an experienced arts administrator, educator, and performer. A native of Minnesota, Ms. McAlister studied International Business and Vocal Performance at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and continued her education at Miami University, University of Cincinnati, and the Hochschule für Musik, Nürnberg-Augsburg. An accomplished soprano, Ms. McAlister is a recent national finalist in the Oratorio Society of New York’s Solo Competition and the National Association for Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (NATSAA). After transitioning into arts administration and education, Ms. McAlister acted as the first-ever Executive Director of SongFest, Artistic Coordinator for the Steans Music Institute Vocal Program at the Ravinia Festival, and Artistic Administrator of the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt i.d. OberPfalz. In 2012, Ms. McAlister joined the William E. Schmidt Foundation’s team as the Schmidt Vocal Competition manager, also teaching on the voice faculty at Miami University. In September 2019, Ms. McAlister assumed the newly created, full-time role of Executive Director for Schmidt Vocal Arts, overseeing the organization’s breadth of programming. These programs include the Schmidt Vocal Competition, Schmidt Vocal Institute, Schmidt Vocal Scholarships, new education and training opportunities, and a growing alumni network.

For the Sake of Artistry: Exploring Expressive Artistry Through Programming

The Quandary: How does a singer move from preparing one song technically and artistically to programming an entire song recital? For young singers, this may be a daunting task, but in most (if not all) music degree programs, the recital requirement is exactly what it is: a requirement. Voice lessons focus on completion of a recital, which in many cases has strict rules for languages, styles, time periods, etc. How do you make this process fun, interesting, and fulfilling? On the other hand, how can you grab the audience’s attention? Moreover, how can you attract an audience to your recital?

The Objective: Empower recitalists to make distinctive choices when programming concerts.  

The Method: In this session, Dr. Liza Forrester Kelly and Linda McAlister will demonstrate three different recital vignettes, each with a specific focus for raising the artistry for the entire recital. Vignettes include: 

  • Art Song à la Carte: Audiences will be a direct part of the collaborative session by choosing pieces from a program built like a restaurant menu. 
  • Old/New Mashup: Performers pair the “old masters” with new composers, matching pieces based on theme, poem, style, etc.
  • Mixed Media Madness: A vignette to offer new ways to include other media, including letters, art, and/or props.

The Projected Outcome: The presentation and sample recital vignettes will help spark new and creative ideas in recital programming, each with a specific focus for raising the artistry for the entire recital.

McQUADE Mark (Co: TICKNOR Bobbie)

Dr. Mark McQUADE serves as Associate Professor of Music and Voice Area Chair at Valdosta State University, where he teaches private voice and vocal pedagogy. His voice students have been featured in principal and supporting roles with university, community, and professional opera and musical theater companies, and they are regular winners, finalists, and semi-finalists at state, regional, and national voice competitions. As a performer, McQuade has appeared in opera, musical theater, concert, and recitals throughout the United States and Canada.  Prior to joining the VSU faculty McQuade served as Associate Professor of Music at Minot State University (2015-2017) and Assistant Professor of Music at Oklahoma Baptist University (2006-2015). Along with his deep-rooted passion for teaching and the art of singing, he brings nearly 20 years of experience as a performer and director of opera. McQuade served as the General Director of the Western Plains Opera Company in North Dakota from 2015 to 2017.  McQuade holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Mississippi. He is a published author, a regular presenter at national and international conferences, and an active member of NATS, NOA, CMS, and NAfME.  McQuade serves at the NATS National Coordinator of Competitions and Auditions. 

Dr. Bobbie TICKNOR is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Valdosta State University. She is also the founding director of the Virtual Reality Lab at Valdosta State University.  Ticknor received her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests include using technology for treatment, sex offender policy and practices, program design and evaluation, and curriculum development.

The Effects of Virtual Reality Training in Reducing Performance Anxiety

Musicians devote their lives to their craft, spending countless hours preparing for performances.  Despite the time and preparation invested, in many cases, anxiety sets in when the performance arrives and the musician takes the stage.  This derails what would otherwise be a marvelous musical experience.  Historically, it has been said that “preparation” is the best cure for performance anxiety, but for most performers, the majority of their time is spent preparing in environments that are different from the environment in which their actual performance(s) will take place.  Singing in the practice room is simply not the same as singing on a stage with an audience.  Gaining regular consistent access to the authentic performance environment is incredibly rare in both the amateur and professional worlds.  However, virtual reality technology can be used to expose students to an actual environment that mimics where they will perform.  This provides students with regular opportunities to perform virtually “in the space” in order to reduce performance anxiety.  The study tracks both the students’ physical and mental manifestations of performance anxiety and if/how those change throughout the study.  This interactive presentation, “The Effects of Virtual Reality Training in Reducing Performance Anxiety,” will share the history, processes, and results of the study and give ICVT 2021 attendees the opportunity to experience the technology.  Insight on how this can be implemented in the training of singers will also be discussed.


Rebecca Schwarz BA(hons) LLCM, ALCM (TD), Member of Vocology in Practice 

Rebecca has been teaching singing for over 15 years and running choirs for almost as long.  In that time she’s studied almost every approach out there but the thing that stuck with her most was her initial training through the BVA. 

In 2017  she joined the BVA Education Working Party and since then she has led or been involved in teams that organised events about dancers, extreme voice, neurology and spoken voice. 

Rebecca began as an actress and singer-songwriter and now combines the two in her one-woman musicals.   Rebecca was mid-tour of her original musical about postnatal depression until Covid hit.

Rebecca has a special interest in how mindset and emotional blocks can inhibit “free” singing and expression.  She has studied and qualified in various therapeutic approaches.  

Rebecca loves bringing people and activities together and making things happen.

Stage Fright Challenge - a Smorgasbord of Practical Techniques

An interactive, practical workshop for performers and those who help performers. 

Together we will explore practical tools to reduce the chances of experiencing stage fright and to feel secure to work through stage fright should it rear its ugly head. 

Techniques are drawn from:-

Neuro Linguistic Programming; 

Acting training – influenced by the Meisner Technique;

Body work from Core Singing, Barbara Houseman and Clowning;

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

The workshop starts with a brief introduction to the concepts of the triune brain and the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems.  Then participants will explore a variety of cognitive and body based techniques to ascertain which they feel will be most useful for themselves and the performers they work with. 

“Rebecca’s talk on stage fright has been one of the most useful I have attended in a long time.  She presented a great variety of very practical ways to deal with stage fright in an empathetic and engaging way, giving us all a chance to try them out, ask questions and share our experiences. I’ve shared several of the tools she presented with my students, all of whom have responded positively.  Several of them have reported positive knock-on effects like extra confidence in other day to day activities as well, not just in performance settings, which goes to show how powerful and effective some of these techniques are.

The best bit though, was getting to put some of the techniques into practice myself in my first live performance back after lockdown.  I’ve never felt so calm and grounded waiting in the wings and not only did I sing better than I’d hoped but I also enjoyed the performances more than ever too!  I’m so grateful to Rebecca for giving me new ways to deal with performance anxiety, this stuff really works!”