Wednesday, April 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Operatic baritone — and dad — joins Willett Chorus for a day

Opera singer Malcolm MacKenzie, a Davis resident, sings to members of the Willett Elementary School Chorus and tells them about life in the music business during a choral rehearsal Thursday morning at the school. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | October 14, 2011 |

The youngsters who sing in the Willett Elementary School Chorus got a treat Thursday morning, in the form of a very special guest. Baritone Malcolm MacKenzie, who is the father of Willett fifth-grader Megan MacKenzie, a member of the chorus, dropped by for the group’s early morning rehearsal.

MacKenzie is  a Davis High graduate, and sang with Madrigals during his student days there; his elder daughter Madison was once a Willett student, and is now at Emerson Junior High. He is home in Davis for just a few days.

He just finished an engagement with the Arizona Opera, singing Alfio in Mascagni’s “Cavalleria rusticana” and Tonio in Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci,” and he’ll soon be off to Opera Santa Barbara, where he’ll be singing Marcello in “La bohème” in November.

But when Willett Chorus director Claudia Krich asked MacKenzie if he would come and talk with students about careers in singing, he quickly agreed.

After the chorus warmed up with the song “Beauty and the Beast” — including the lyric “Certain as the sun, rising in the east,” sung as the suns rays were peeking through the trees at 7:55 a.m. — Krich introduced MacKenzie to the youngsters, who were eager to ask questions.

“Do you sing in other languages?” one student asked.

“I sing a lot in Italian, German and French,” MacKenzie responded, “and sometimes I sing in other languages like Russian or Czech. I have to study all sorts of different languages.”

He added that unlike singers in musical theater, opera singers don’t use microphones. “We learn to project our voices,” he said.

Krich asked, “What did you sound like when you were their age?”

MacKenzie recalled that he started singing when he was in the fifth grade, the same age as many of the students in the Willett Chorus. And while younger kids sing high, “as you get older, your voice will get lower and lower — even the girls. Most people have about a 2 1/2-octave range” when singing as adults, he added.

MacKenzie recalled that his voice changed when he was a sixth-grader, and settled in the low baritone range; for many boys, that change occurs in the seventh or eighth grade.

MacKenzie told the youngsters that these days, he travels around the country, including an appearance in a production last year with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and periodically goes abroad.

“When I work, I’m usually wearing a fancy costume, and a wig,” he said. “My hair is fairly short, and men usually had long hair in the periods in which many operas are set. And sometimes a stage beard — I wore muttonchop sideburns for one of my recent roles.”

He also offered a few pointers on diction, showing the students how to stress the “st” sound at the end of the phrase when singing “Beauty and the Beast.”

He treated the youngsters to a brief aria, sung in Italian, from “Pagliacci.”

“My voice only works low at this time of the morning,” he quipped.

And he sang with the chorus as they rehearsed the old standard “Moonlight Bay,” sight-reading from music passed to him by Krich.

He also offered some sage advice: “Always look at the conductor. The conductor will remind you when it’s time for you to come in, and when it’s time to cut out.”

Krich said, “It was an inspiration for the students in our chorus to see a parent who has a career as a professional singer.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or (530) 747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
     
    Food Bank springs for year-round assistance

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Dismal snowpack gets one more measure

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Funding sought for slain vet student’s pets

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Next-generation GMOs: Pink pineapples and purple tomatoes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Woodland Library’s community room reopens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Museum celebrates Easter with candy-filled eggs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Easter egg hunt set Sunday at Atria

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    AquaMonsters open summer registration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Odd Fellows will host a big birthday bash

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Tamblyn presents a comedy concert

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Cancer fighters will gather Saturday for Relay For Life kickoff

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Poet laureate emerita celebrates at book-release party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    UCD gets grant to look at open access to published research

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    ‘Sip and Shop’ kicks off Child Abuse Prevention Month

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    AARP’s free tax-prep services continue

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Pain management lecture slated April 8

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Seniors invited to join new social group

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    Pence Gallery: See artists at work during Garden Tour

    By Natalie Nelson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Shootings showed need for MRAP

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Program sparks lots of questions

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Is Davis on the cusp of an evolutionary change?

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: B4

    Will containers block cyclists’ path?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    We have no room for another cart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    This is no way to run a city

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Get informed on organics program

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bicycle bells are my birthday wish

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Groom’s parents overwhelmed

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    .

    Sports

    Blue Devils drop softball game at CBS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies get ready for Hawaii by rolling over St. Mary’s

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UC Davis represents well at Final Four in Indiana

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Descalso looks back at Aggie days, ahead to new Rockies gig

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    JV/frosh roundup: DHS younger girls soccer squad stomps Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Nunez powers Aggies to softball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Gibson’s heroics ensure a DHS split at Boras Classic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    Spring is a busy time for honey and hives

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Fiery bluesman brings guitar pyrotechnics to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Bluesman and guitarist Buddy Guy comes to Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics