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Volume 99, Number 2

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Damian and Tara Savarino speak with The Bridge Online (continued)

Tara Savarino, soprano

courtesy of Damian Savarino

Tara Savarino, waits backstage for the concert to begin.

Have you performed in the States since you’ve been back?

Damian: No, we’ve sung in church.

Tara:You did a concert in Shippensburg University. We’re so spoiled. When we got home we were living, what did we call it, we were just in the Sicilian bubble for a while.

Damian: Tara was cooking all the things that she could remember.

Tara: <In Sicily> I was like a hawk, watching this woman! It was the most fabulous food I’ve ever eaten. It was amazing and everything was very basic. There weren’t these fancy gadgets in the kitchen. If you need some cinnamon you get a mortar and pestle and you grind the stick until it becomes a powder. That sort of “of the earth” kind of cooking.

Damian: There were no recipes. She knows what she’s doing.

Tara: The quality of the food we can’t really match here either, the sweetness of the eggplant.

Damian: They had their own fresh almonds.

Tara: Yes, we’d go to their farm in the morning and pick what we would then eat that day.

Damian: Yeah, well, we haven’t had a venue like a recital or something since.

Tara: We’re doing the recital again, at least Richard and I are doing the recital again.

Damian: I might not be able to.

Tara: It’s going to be part of the concert fundraising series the Sunday at 4, State Street Academy of Music series that’s happening, next march. It will be a repeat performance of the concert.

Do you have any things lined up for the next few months, or will you be focused mostly on teaching at this point?

Damian: For me, I’m focusing back on the beginning of the academic year. The other thing that’s happening in my life is I’m going back to school to start work on my doctorate. That’s one of the reasons I might not be available for this concert in March. I’m going to be working here full time at Messiah, but I’ve reduced my load a little and I’ll be commuting to Washington DC, Catholic University of America. She’s starting adjunct here to pick up some of the load that we can’t cover and she’s maintaining her private studios. She’s also going to be singing on one of the student recitals this fall. But other than that we don’t have much on the plate.

Can you say something about the relationship for you personally/professionally between teaching and performing? What is the play in your own life? How did they inform or inspire each other?

Tara: Sure, I just got done filling out my philosophy of teaching statement. First of all I think it’s important to represent. To sort of practice what you preach. And to be involved as much performance wise as possible. So that my students can come and observe and see how I instruct, how it carries through in my own performing. For some teachers that’s not possible. But for me right now it is, thankfully. I’ve found that so much of teaching younger people has to do with empowerment. Because your instrument, as a vocalist, is part of your body, everything that you do with your instrument can be so personal. If you’re a trumpet player you can come in with a sinus infection and play the trumpet, but if you’re a singer that changes everything. If you’re feeling not completely well, everything affects your voice. And so encouraging, it’s such a fragile time for so many young singers because of so many outside forces. So using the study of vocal technique as a tool to empower who they are is really important.

Damian: And I think just being performers ourselves and having to deal with our own confidence issues, helps to inform how we can instill the confidence we want to see in our students. Teaching voice is one on one, it’s different that teaching in a classroom setting where maybe you’re just lecturing, or where part of it is lecture and part of it is I find it’s a very dynamic, demanding energy-wise. I think there’s part of that that feels like a performance when you’re teaching one on one. You’re kind of performing in the sense that you’re trying to really evoke a better function of the voice for the student, trying to inspire them musically, all those sorts of things. Teaching and performance definitely go hand-in-hand.


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