Vocal Clinic Day


Click Here to view pictures from the 2013 Vocal Clinic.

Simpson's first ever Vocal Clinic took place on November 8, 2013.   Engaging and interactive, this clinic included seminars, workshops, and career development opportunities designed to foster growth in singing, performing, and answer questions about the life of a musician beyond high school.  There was no cost or registration fee for this event.  Participants could choose to attend the following events during the day:

  • Vocal Health and Hygiene
  • Operatic Singing Careers in Europe
  • Operatic Singing Careers in America
  • Concert and Broadway Singing Careers
  • Career Considerations Post-Graduate School
  • Stage Make-Up for Singers



  • Stage Combat
  • Stage Movement
  • Keys to Becoming a Composer
  • Ensemble Work for Serious Singers
  • Career Development and Audition Workshop
  • Audition Masterclass

Vocal Health and Hygiene

This session, lead by Dr. Virginia Croskery with guest Joy Hesse, will concentrate on  healthy vocal hygiene. We will discuss how to keep your voice in top performing health.  Diet, exercise, rehearsal techniques, hydration, allergies and pharmaceuticals can all have an effect on vocal health.  We will investigate topics such as these as well as questions from participants.

Virginia Croskery holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa and is an alumna of the prestigious Lyric Opera of Chicago Opera Center.

Joy Hesse, M.A. CCC-SLP   is a speech language pathologist with The Iowa ENT Center, PLLC.  She has worked with singers and professional voice users for more than 20 years.  Her specialties include evaluation and treatment of voice disorders, swallowing and head and neck cancer.  She has lectured locally and nationally on the care and treatment of the professional voice user.


Operatic Singing Careers in Europe

In this seminar, Mr. Bruce Brown will discuss how Americans can achieve a singing career in Europe.

Bruce Brown joined the Simpson College Voice Faculty in the fall of 2003 following a professional opera singing career in the United States and Europe.  He lived and sang in Vienna, Austria from 1992 – 2003 where he appeared in over 600 performances as baritone soloist on the stages of the Vienna opera houses. 

He was a full time member of the Vienna Volksoper soloist ensemble and appeared many times as a guest artist in the title role of Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Vienna Kammeroper’s open air summer Mozart in Schönbrunn Festival in the Roman Ruins of the Schönbrunn Palace.  His roles with the Volksoper included Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Valentin, Silvio, Ford, Danilo, Graf Homonay, Dottore Malatesta, Belcore, Schaunard, Marcello, Zar, John Sorel, among many others.



Operatic Singing Careers in America

 Matthew Lau will lead a forum discussion addressing career opportunities in the United States for classical vocalists.

Over the course of a long career in America, Lau sang with New York City Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Atlanta Opera, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Arizona Opera, Minnesota Opera, among many others. Discussion topics will include opera management, audition techniques, resume writing, and maintaining long-term relationships (both personal and professional).  

Matthew Lau

Concert and Broadway Singing Careers

This session will give students a glimpse into the necessary skills to develop for a career on Broadway or the concert stage.

Dr. Croskery has over thirty years of professional singing experience.  She performed on Broadway for over a decade, including being an original company member of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera's  first national tour.  Croskery has appeared with numerous major orchestras and opera companies throughout North America and Europe, including the Chicago and Montreal Symphonies and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.  She has a solo recording of Victor Herbert songs with Marco Polo/Naxos Records and has been featured in national commercial jingles.  Miss Croskery was a winner in the Third International Pavaotti Voice Competition.


Career Considerations Post-Graduate School

In this seminar, Miss Brown will be discussing possible education and career paths for a musician, as well as sharing her own musical path.  

Lauren Brown is currently in her final year of research as a candidate in the DMA program at Louisiana State University and working as a sabbatical replacement at Simpson College for Dr. Kimberly Roberts. Lauren holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Music Performance from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor of Music from Simpson College. 


Stage Make-Up For Singers

Professor Lau will offer an introductory session in stage makeup. Standard leading male and female stage makeup will be addressed as well as character makeup.

Matthew Lau

Stage Movement

In this workshop, Miss Brown will discuss and demonstrate the basic fundamentals of stage movement.

Lauren has had a lot of experience with stage performance.  She has performed roles such as; The Witch in Hansel and Gretel at Opera Louisianne, Mrs. Grose in Turn of the Screw, La Femme in La Voix Humaine and Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette at Louisiana State University.  During her time at Simpson she performed the roles of Magda Sorel in The Consul, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, and Mrs. Mullin in Carousel.


Stage Combat

This workshop, lead by Mr. Bruce Brown, covers the basic falls, hits, naps, and fencing positions that are used onstage.

Mr. Brown has performed in the United States with Houston Grand Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Knoxville Opera, Sacramento Opera, Eugene Opera, Mississippi Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Glimmerglass Opera, and Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, among others.

He was a member of the Houston Opera Studio and spent several years early in his career touring with Texas Opera Theater, Opera Iowa, and Opera Northeast.  Opera roles performed in the United States have included Danilo, Dandini, Papageno, Schaunard, Marcello, Don Giovanni, Dottore Malatesta, Escamillo, Belcore, Silvio, Maximilian, Achilla,  Sharpless, Valentin, and many others.


Keys to Becoming a Composer

Dr. Michael Patterson will discuss the composition of songs: selection of texts, musical elements, accompaniment, copy right issues, and will be pleased to answer any related questions.

As a composer, Dr. Patterson has received numerous commissions for choral works, songs, works for saxophone, and for an operatic setting of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Peter Rabbit was commissioned for the Des Moines Metro Opera’s touring ensemble, Opera Iowa and was seen by some 60,000 public school students during a two-year tour through Iowa and four neighboring states. Several of his works are in publication. A particularly rousing anthem, “Look to this Day,” was recently published by Hinshaw Music, and is available for immediate download here.

In 2007, Dr. Patterson was commissioned by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Des Moines Metro Opera to write “A Dream Fulfilled: The Saga of George Washington Carver” for OPERA Iowa.  The opera toured for two years and was then televised by Iowa Public Television.  It has been broadcast numerous times and may be viewed, along with an interview given by Dr. Patterson, on the IPTV website.

“A Boys Will”, three songs for baritone voice, may be found on “Songs by Stephen Lias, Michael Patterson, and Lee Hoiby,” which was released by Centaur Records. Published music to these pieces may be found online in both the original key and transposed to a lower key.

Dr. Patterson is a past recipient of the Iowa Composers Forum and Iowa Choral Directors Association Award as well as the Simpson College Distinguished Research Award.


Ensemble Work for Serious Singers

Dr. Timothy A. McMillin is chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Simpson College.  He is widely recognized for his approach to innovative and thoughtful rehearsal strategies.  This interactive session will focus on strategies for using a healthy vocal technique (even if you possess a voice with significant solo qualities) in an ensemble setting for the mutual gratification of the singer, the voice teacher, the conductor and the audience.  The session will also include a small lab performance and demonstration by the Simpson College Chamber Singers.

tim mcmillin

Career Development and Audition Workshop

This workshop is lead by Michael Egel, the General and Artistic Director of the Des Moines Metro Opera.  He has served on the steering committee for the National Singer Training Forum with other singer-training personnel at OPERA America and has presented on the topic of Singer Training at several conferences for them. 

He has been a panelist for the National Opera Association regarding career issues for young singers and has contributed to national publications regarding the auditioning process and training for singers.  He has previously been on the administrative and directing staff at both Opera Memphis and the Natchez Opera Festival and has served frequently as an adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions. 

Audition Masterclass

Lead by Dr. Croskery, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Lau, Mr. B. Brown, Ms. L. Brown, and Dr. McMillin

Perform a solo art song or aria for a pair of today's presenters in a small masterclass setting to receive feedback.  Accompanists will be provided.