S.O.A.R.S. - Summer Opera, Art Song & Recording Session


A 2-Week Intensive experience featuring opera scenes performance, art song recital, and a recording session. SOARS is a two-week vocal training program and recording seminar that offers an exciting opportunity for serious singers to receive operatic and stage training in standard operatic and art song repertoire culminating in a staged & costumed opera scene performance, art song/aria recital. Singers will also have the opportunity to record several demo tracks that can be used in future auditions and pre-screenings. Located in this beautiful lakeside setting, this two-week intensive focuses on all the tools needed for the advanced student to gain stage experience and better understand the recording process, both in hopes of gaining a foothold in a competitive field. Led by respected industry professionals, the session will concentrate on preparation of pre-assigned scenes geared specifically towards those students accepted into the program. In addition, students will benefit from weekly voice lessons, private coaching, workshops on recording, and an audition techniques seminar. Participants are free to enjoy Bay View Festival concerts as well as all of the outdoor recreation options that northern Michigan offers. The program begins with arrivals on Friday, June 5. Some students may wish to then stay for the mainstage musical/opera, departing in August. See Mainstage Opera for details.

  • Two individual 1-hour vocal lessons with Bay View Voice Faculty
  • Private coachings on art song and opera scenes
  • Staging rehearsals with Dr. Sarah Stone (Stage Director) and Nick Gisonde (Stage Director/Fight Choreographer)
  • Acting, movement and stage combat classes
  • Audition seminar with individual critique and feedback of each participants’ promotional materials with Dr. Risa Renae Harman (Soprano, BV Voice Faculty)
  • One public recital of aria or art song repertoire of student’s choosing
  • Two fully staged opera scenes concerts
  • Opportunity to record demo tracks (mastered mp3 files)
  • Pre-recording workshop/discussion with recording engineers about the process of recording from their perspective, limitations and advantages, etc.
  • Opportunity for income from church job singing (Up to $150)
  • Participation in Bay View Festival Choir as section leader (Dr. Chris Ludwa, Conductor)

SOARS Faculty/Staff

  • Dr. Risa Renae Harman - SOARS Program Administrator, Head of Vocal Studies and Voice Faculty, Soprano
  • Dr. Casey Robards - Opera Scenes Musical Director/Conductor
  • Sarah Stone - Opera Scenes Stage Director
  • Nick Gisonde - Opera Scenes, Stage Director and Fight Coordinator
  • Brian Banion - Voice Faculty, Bass
  • Elise DesChamps - Voice Faculty, Mezzo Soprano
  • Dr. Mariah Boucher - Art Song Coach


Even though it only lasted two weeks, the SOARS program helped me out in so many things, that it will be a little bit hard to describe all of them in a short testimonial. For starters, the mock audition on the very first day of the program was a wonderful opportunity for us to get some feedback on what really happens out there in the real world. Not just vocally, but in our presentation as a whole - how we dress, resumé, headshot, the way we go onstage, the way we use our voice and posture to talk to the committee. I have my notes here with me and now and then go back and read them, just to make sure I internalize those ideas even more. Another thing was time management. In my personal case, I was involved in 7 out of the 12 scenes of our show, and with that I really had to learn how to manage my time for practicing, how to use my voice during long rehearsals, and, during the performance, how to go quickly from one role to another without freaking out (that includes having literally only a couple of minutes to change costumes!). That was really amazing, and now doing my doctorate I can really feel how important time management is. During the SOARS 2016 I also had some stage combat experience, a new thing for me, and the way Nick worked with us was truly amazing - he understood that we were all learning a new thing, but still pushed us so we could give our best. I never knew a short fight scene needed so much preparation!

I made great friendships from all over the country and I was fortunate I had the chance to work with such great musicians. Coaching with Dr. Robards, voice lessons with Brian, staging with Nick and Sarah… I learned a lot from them, and the best thing I know I can count on all of them (plus Risa, of course) for future projects (letters of recommendation etc.). I really want to go back and do the SOARS program again!

- Lauren Corcoran


The SOARS program at Bay View provided me with experiences that directly prepared me for graduate school in the fall. The lessons, coachings, seminar discussions and so much more from the exceptional faculty taught me how to dig deeper into the text and music of opera and art song alike, resulting in fulfilling performances of both opera scenes and an art song recital.
The positive working environment and inspiring colleagues at the SOARS program reaffirmed my joy for the unique field of collaborative piano. The mentorship of Dr. Casey Robards—Director of Collaborative Piano—during the program, and after, has helped direct my goals as I continue to discover what it means to be a collaborative pianist. The SOARS program at Bay View offers a wonderful opportunity for any pianist looking to be immersed and inspired through two weeks of collaborative music-making.
Alex Munger

Combine Vocal Programs to Enhance Your Experience

In order to accommodate the many experience levels and financial challenges of today's young artists, we offer four different opportunities that can either be combined for one great 8-week experience, or a la carte. The program begins with arrivals on June 21. After performing in the musical July 9-11, students will then produce four performances of La Traviata, departing on August 7 after the opera closes. Dates below incl. arrival and departure date.

  • Summer Opera, Art Song, and Recording Seminar (SOARS): Arrive Fri. June 5, Depart Sun. June 21, 2020
  • MUSICAL THEATRE (Beauty and the Beast): Arrive Fri. June 19, Depart Sun. July 12, 2020
  • OPERA MAINSTAGE (Verdi's La Traviata): Arrive Sun. June 21, Depart Fri. August 7, 2020
  • AMERICAN SPIRITUALS INTENSIVE: Arrive Fri. August 7, Depart Mon. August 17, 2020



Contact Us

For general questions, please contact Chris Ludwa at (231) 225-8877 or chris@bayviewassociation.org. For more specific questions about this program, please contact Voice Chair Risa Renae Harman at harmanrr@aol.com.

Not a member? Learn more about membership opportunities in Bay View.

The Bay View Association is located just outside of Petoskey, Michigan on the shore of Little Traverse Bay.

1715 Encampment Ave
P.O. Box 583
Petoskey, MI 49770

Phone: 231-347-6225