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Ouachita Stories


Vocal Studies Program to host Darren K. Woods in a master class and lecture

September 19, 2008 - Jon Secrest

Darren K. Woods, general director of the Forth Worth Opera Company, will be featured in a master class and "auditions talk" on the campus of Ouachita Baptist University from 11 a.m. to 12 noon and again from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26.

These activities, sponsored by the OBU Vocal Studies Program, will be held in the Mabee Fine Arts Center’s McBeth Recital Hall, and are free and open to the public.

Woods will present his "Ten Commandments for Opera Auditions” and work with six OBU voice principals in the master class setting. The student singers include sophomore vocal performance majors Hannah Chapman, Chelsea Cunningham and Danielle DeNicola, freshman music education major Teresa Hargrove, senior vocal performance major Julie Robinson and sophomore music education major Josiah Wheeler.

Woods was appointed general director of the Fort Worth Opera in July of 2001. Under his leadership, Fort Worth Opera has increased subscription and donor bases and has received rave reviews for production quality.

Expanding on Woods' dedication to young artists, the Fort Worth Opera Studio was founded in the 2002-2003 season. Its four founding members participated in main stage productions, performed for more that 100,000 children and received coaching from visiting and guest artists. In February 2006, the company, under Woods' leadership, announced that it was converting its regular fall/winter schedule to a condensed festival format beginning May 2007. During their inaugural festival season, he oversaw the company's first world premiere, “Frau Margot” by Thomas Pasatieri.

Prior to his appointment in Fort Worth, Woods was the general director of the Shreveport Opera in Louisiana. While in Shreveport, Woods founded Shreveport Opera Express (SOX), a touring arts in education program that enabled school children to work with professional artists in schools.

Until January 2008, Woods also served as general and artistic director of the Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York—one of the oldest and highest regarded vocal training programs for young artists in the United States.

Woods is a frequent vocal competition judge. In past seasons, he has served as a panel judge for the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Lieber Competition, the Denver Opera Guild Competition, the Dallas Opera Guild Competiton and the Marguerite McCammon Competition.

Prior to beginning his management positions, Woods performed as a professional operatic tenor for 20 years in such venues as the New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Washington Opera, L'Opera Madrid, Opera Trieste, Seattle Opera, the Dallas Opera, Baltimore Opera and the Santa Fe Opera.

For more information, contact Dr. Jon Secrest, coordinator of the OBU Vocal Studies Program, at 870-245-5134 or secrestj@obu.edu.

by Jon Secrest