Elizabeth Chitester

Founder and Director

Rising Voices LLC



December 4th, 2017

Performance as Education

A Position Statement

At the Rising Voices, we provide professional level opportunities to all of our enrolled members, no matter their age or experience level. This varies between ensembles, and is structured to be challenging, but achievable, for all of our members.

Our expectation is that students and members of our programs understand that our goal is not to be “cute,” but to be professional. Performance is, ultimately, a service to the audience. Because of this, like in any other service profession, performers must cultivate an image to present to the audience. Just as you expect a clerk or representative to be respectful and to conduct themselves in a certain way when you enter a store, audiences expect performers to be poised, prepared, and to function as a part of a group.

We expect all students and members of our programs to conduct themselves professionally regarding these performances. This may mean tolerating difficult circumstances. Because of this, we have created specific performance standards for each of our programs. In order of professional expectation, our ensembles are the Junior Singers, the Studio, and the Youth Choir and the Pittsburgh Liberty Choir.

For our youngest and least experienced members, professionalism means learning how to regulate our bodies, with opportunities to practice this regulation at dress rehearsals and concerts. This includes standing still, not chatting during performance, and following direction from a conductor. For our more advanced and experienced members, this means learning how to conduct ourselves and regulate our bodies even when there is slight discomfort. We will never put a student or member in danger, and believe firmly that learning to perform under stress is a key part of learning to perform. Thus, we expect those enrolled in advanced ensembles to perform on outdoor stages, at private events which do not allow parents or family members to be in the audience, at events where they may not be the sole focus (at a market or luncheon, for example) and at events with strict timelines and expectations.

This rigor of performance mimics the real life situations that professional musicians of all ages face on a day to day basis. We understand this standard may not fit into the values of every person or family, and are happy to integrate members into ensembles which are better suited for their values.

We believe in our members to perform to a high standard, and that pushing our members to do so is the best way to prepare them for a future in performance.

Elizabeth Chitester