CHADRON – Chadron State College Accompanist Bobby Pace recently learned that one of his private vocal music students, Chadron High School senior Lateisha Ngoi, has been accepted to Juilliard. Even though Ngoi completed her video conference audition for Juilliard before they started working together in January, Pace said it is exciting to work with a student who has been accepted to such a prestigious institution.
Ngoi, who plays the viola in addition to acting and singing, moved to Chadron from Toronto two years ago.
“She’s already a strong musician and having an instrumental background makes learning and understanding music easier. She has a good ear and a great natural instrument. She’s already done a lot of work that I can't take any credit for. When she decided she truly wanted to study the voice, we started from there and talked about how her voice will need to be versatile in a theatre and how she can use her voice to create character,” Pace said.
Pace, who has been the conductor for a number of CHS musicals, said acceptance to Juilliard is an immediate step in the door for an acting career.
“Juilliard is the name we all know. It's a huge scary commitment, especially if you're a parent sending a child into the arts,” Pace said. “Lateisha is receptive to trying new vocal exercises which is a quality that colleges like Juilliard look for. They not only want talent, they're looking for potential and coachability,” Pace said.
Pace works with female singers to separate their chest voice, or low register, and their head voice, or high register.
“Once we do that, then we work on combining the two. If their background is listening to a lot of pop music, they tend to sing in their chest voice. They don't have a high range because they haven't learned to access their head voice. If they've only been in choirs, it is vice versa and I work with them on a stronger chest voice which helps with character, especially in musical theatre,” he said.
Pace teaches elective-level voice lessons to CSC students in musical theatre each spring semester. Each fall, he is busy supporting the musical production. He has 11 students this semester who will perform Saturday, April 24, at 7 p.m. in the Sandoz Center Chicoine Atrium. The concert is free and open to the public. He has invited three CHS students who are taking private vocal lessons with him to participate in the concert, as well.
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