CUH to Host Free Singing Workshops


Courtesy of Bro. Gary Morris

Kip Wilborn as Sweeney Todd in the 2018 Chaminade production of “Sweeney Todd.”

For the first time ever, Chaminade University will be conducting free singing workshops, starting this coming Wednesday. Interested students will get a chance to hone their singing skills, and to be better prepared for auditions and singing in musical productions.

Performing Arts Professor Bro. Gary Morris said that many students at Chaminade do not have the confidence to be singers in Chaminade productions.

“Quite often, they won’t even audition,” Morris said. “So we’re trying to do something to help them with that.”

The university will host a series of four workshops, starting Wednesday. Each session is two hours long and will run all the way until February. Students interested must attend all four workshops as each one builds on the previous sessions. 

Morris says that many Chaminade students tend to work behind the scenes, such as in set design or lighting in audio. However, when it comes to being on stage, they tend to shy away.

“We’re trying to give them that confidence – give them skills that they can use in order to succeed as musical theatre performers,” Morris said.

Students who are interested do not need any background in musical theater, as the workshop is to help those with low confidence find their voice.

“If you haven’t had any experience at all, you’re welcome to join,” Morris said.

Teaching the workshops will be opera star Kip Wilborn, who also starred as Sweeney Todd in last year’s Chaminade production of “Sweeney Todd”. 

Wilborn is also a music director for many of the community theaters here in Hawaii and has also performed at many opera houses such as the San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, and Berlin’s Theater des Westens. He has also starred as Don Jose in Hawaii Opera Theatre’s Carmen and has won the Po’okela award, which recognizes Hawaii theatre productions, four times. 

The workshops are made possible through a $10,000 grant by the Orvis Foundation, which has also funded projects for the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Hawaii Opera Theatre. 

In addition to the workshops, the foundation has also paid for an accompanist for the school’s productions and personal singing lessons for cast members of the upcoming Chaminade production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” 

Morris hopes that the workshops will also entice students to audition for the upcoming production.

Those willing to participate can email Morris at [email protected] or visit his office in the Clarence T.C. Ching Hall.