Renowned baritone evaluates Linfield’s male vocalists

Internationally known opera singer and affiliate professor David Wakeham critiqued male student vocalists on March 14 in the Delkin Recital Hall at the Vivian Bull Music Center, bringing with him experience and a sense of humor.

“[Wakeham] brings a new fun to music and makes everything relatable to life,” junior vocalist Logan Freitas said.

Professor of Music Gwen Leonard invited Wakeham to critique tenor and baritone performers in front of an audience during the event “Master Class for the Male Voice,” sponsored by the Lacroute Arts Fund and Linfield Department of Music.

The event featured male vocalists from Linfield, the McMinnville community and other locations throughout Oregon. Linfield participants included tenor Freitas, junior baritone Jeremy Moll and tenor Sam Dinsmore, class of ’09.

Wakeham’s class is a display of vocal pedagogy Freitas said.

The event was set up so that each vocalist performed a piece, selected previously by Leonard, along with accompaniment by pianist Susan McDaniel, and then received constructive criticism from Wakeham. Using analogies to explain vocal technique to his students, Wakeham provoked laughter from the vocalists and audience members.

“My favorite part about teaching is seeing the results and watching people grow. I love it,” Wakeham said.

While Wakeham offered his personal experience in singing opera and knowledge of the voice to the students, he acknowledged his limitations as an instructor.

“I approach male and female vocalists the same way. The only difference is talent and ability. I can’t control that,” he said.

Wakeham has been visiting Linfield sporadically for 32 years, since former music professor Larry Marsh initially invited the Australian singer to teach voice. According to the event’s program, Wakeham has established an international reputation, with critically acclaimed performances at La Scala Milano, the Komische Oper Berlin and Theatro Massimo, Palmero in Italy.

Wakeham closed with encouraging words for anyone interested in music. “Go out there and make music,” Wakeham said, “Just make love to my ears.”

Felicia Weller/Copy editor
Felicia Weller can be reached at

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