Expert Panels & Master Classes

Expert Panels and Master Classes

Many of the vocalists who were featured at the Chicago Voices Concert took part in panel discussions, master classes, and demonstrations at Columbia College Chicago. Topics discussed and explored included vocal health and pedagogy, music business, self-marketing and promotion, social media, and career planning.

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Thursday, Feb. 02

Opening Reception
Columbia College Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash

The Chicago Voices Expert Panels and Master Classes kicked off with an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 02, 2016 with special guest Renée Fleming offering an official welcome. The night also boasted an exciting performance from Jeff Award winner and Dreamgirls star Donica Lynn, accompanied by music director and winner of six Jeff Awards Doug Peck.

Friday, Feb. 03

Expert Panels and Master Classes

Loud and Clear: Media, Self-Promotion, and Marketing for Vocalists in the Digital Age 

How can an artist stand out amidst the noise of our high-tech, plugged-in world?
Film Row Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash

Music industry experts talk about ways artists can harness social media and emerging technology for self promotion. Whether you’re a solo artist or the member of a band, you’ll walk away equipped to get your name out there!

Moderator - Justin Sinkovich (Media entrepreneur, music producer, performer - Columbia College faculty member)
Clayton Smith (Social media specialist – Columbia College faculty member)
Kent Anderson (Musician, consultant, lecturer and educator - Columbia faculty member)
Akenya Seymour (singer/songwriter)
Brenda Robinson (Entertainment and intellectual property lawyer) 

Master Class – Michelle Williams
Columbia College Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Ave.

Acclaimed gospel star Michelle Williams shares her expertise with young gospel singers from Columbia College Chicago. 

Master Class – Renée Fleming with Melissa Foster 
Columbia College Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Ave.

Observe soprano Renée Fleming and Northwestern University faculty member Melissa Foster coach high-school students in classical and musical theater genres.

The Healthy Voice in the 21st Century
Vocalists, safeguard your greatest asset!

Proper care and protection are the cornerstones of a healthy voice. Yet it can be challenging to maintain your voice throughout a singing career. Learn about vocal difficulties and disorders, as well as vocal health techniques from professional singers and medical specialists.

Moderator - Renée Fleming (Opera Singer and Creative Consultant for Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Dr. Robert Bastian (Bastian Voice Institute)
Typhanie Monique (Chicago jazz singer - Columbia College faculty member)
Julia Faulkner (Director of Vocal Studies - The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center)
Melissa Foster (Senior Lecturer of music theater - Northwestern University department of theatre)

Master Class - Jessie Mueller
4:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Columbia College Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Ave.
Broadway star Jessie Mueller coaches aspiring musical theater singers in a one-on-one master class.

Saturday, Feb. 04

Expert Panels and Master Classes

Master Class – Kurt Elling
Columbia College Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Ave.

Watch Chicago's great jazz singer, Kurt Elling, as he works with the next generation of jazz vocalists.
Modern Protest Songs
How vocal music can affect change.
Film Row Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash

Harnessing the power of music, protest songs have long served as a catalyst for change. See the progression of history through the evolution of protest songs, which have grown from their folk beginnings to include rap, hip-hop, punk, and even metal.

Moderator – Martez Rucker (Columbia College)
Dave Hoekstra (Chicago Author-Producer)
Ric Wilson – Artist, performer and prison abolitionist
Bau Graves – Executive Director, Old Town School of Folk Music

In Performance
2:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m
Columbia College Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash

Join us for a performance by Chicago artists representing a variety of contemporary musical genres. The performance will feature Akenya Seymour, Ric Wilson and OHMME. There will be an opportunity for questions from the audience following the performance.
Front and Center: How to get on stage as a vocalist in Chicago
So you want to break into the music business?
Film Row Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash

Find out how other artists are finding, making, and keeping the connections that get them on stage. Veterans of the Chicago music scene discuss steps, and success stories, for making it big in the Windy City.
Moderator Bobbi Wilsyn (Jazz- blues vocalist, Columbia College faculty member)
Tim Tuten (co-owner of The Hideout)
Andy Cirzan (Vice President JAM Productions)
Joe Shanahan (Founder and owner of Metro Chicago and Smart Bar)
Jeff Morrow (Singer, voiceover artist, vocal coach, Columbia College)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Chicago Voices?

Chicago Voices is a groundbreaking, multi-year initiative celebrating Chicago’s vibrant, diverse vocal music culture. This innovative project aims to create an inclusive platform for celebrating the human voice, while illuminating the legacy of Chicago vocal traditions and amplifying the narratives of everyday Chicagoans. Presented by Lyric Opera, Chicago Voices is spearheaded by its creative consultant Renée Fleming and is a joint project with Lyric Unlimited.

What are Expert Panels and Master Classes?

Offered in partnership with Columbia College Chicago this intensive, multi-day event consists of master classes with top artists and fascinating panel discussions covering a wide array of cross-genre topics applicable to today’s singers and vocal instructors alike.

How can I register for Expert Panels and Master Classes?

Registration is available on line at or by phone at 312-827-5600. Special pricing is available for students with valid ID.

            ● 1 Full-Day Pass (either Friday or Saturday)
               Standard Price $75
               Student Price $30 

            ● Two-Day Pass to Friday & Saturday (16% discount)
               Standard Bundle Price $125
               Student Bundle Price $50

Can I buy one event instead of the whole day?

No, tickets are sold by the day and will give access to all events taking place.

Is there an additional cost for the opening reception?

No, the opening reception is free and open to all attendees of Expert Panels and Master Classes. An email will be sent to Expert Panels and Master Classes ticket purchasers with a link to RSVP.

Where will the sessions take place?

Expert Panels and Master Classes will be held at Columbia College Chicago. Detailed information will be sent to registered attendees. Check-in will occur at the following locations and be found on your ticket.

      ● Friday check-in begins at 8:45am at 1104 S Wabash Ave.
      ● Saturday check-in begins at 9:15am at 1014 S Michigan Ave.

Where can I park?

Limited metered street parking is available. The nearest parking lot is located at 1101 S Wabash.

Is lunch included? Where should I eat?

Lunch is not included. There will be an hour allocated for lunch each day. There are some quick lunch options available nearby on State Street and Wabash Avenue including Panera, Panda Express, Subway, Harold’s Chicken Shack, etc.

Are locations handicap accessible?

Yes, all locations are handicap accessible.

Are Gala Concert tickets included with Expert Panels and Master Classes?

No, tickets for the Gala Concert must be purchased separately. Tickets can be purchased at Single tickets start at $39. VIP packages available.

Expert Panels & Master Classes Partner