The Staples Area Men’s Chorus (SAMC) wants to help young men find the joy and richness that singing brings to life. It also wants to help high school and college music programs attract and retain male singers for their choral ensembles, and to help them remain strong and vibrant organizations. To accomplish this we have started the Real Men Sing Choral Festival.
At no charge to participating schools, the SAMC books the facility, hires a guest conductor and a voice teacher, buys the music, and provides an evening meal. Rehearsals and workshops are scheduled in the afternoon and the event is capped off with a concert in the evening.
In addition to the Festival Chorus of over 200 Singers, the concert also features a high school men’s chorus, a college or university men’s chorus, the SAMC, and selected soloists from the vocal clinic. The Festival has been a resounding success, attracting 200 high school age young men from 15 communities and an appreciative audience that has grown every year as news of the Festival has spread.
Participating high schools are not limited to bringing only their “best” students. They can bring one, four, or all of their male singers to the Festival. The Festival provides the opportunity to work under some of the very best choral directors in the state, as well as sessions centered on proper vocal technique and getting the best sound out of every singer’s voice. Every participating school will have the opportunity to have at least one soloist work with the Guest Voice Clinician.
It is hoped that the participants come with the music well learned, but in case there are trouble spots, the members of the SAMC are seated next to the young men during the rehearsals and in the evening concert, to guarantee that the event is an enriching and rewarding experience. This mentoring and leadership is meant to advance the goals of the event, which are to convince young men that “yes, real men do sing”; to inform them that there are artistic and creative opportunities waiting for them after leaving their high school choirs; to demonstrate that men from many walks of life and many ages, can come together, build community, create enriching music together, and have a great time doing it.