The Creative Energy Bubbling Inside of You

By Jessica Kos-Whicher
Jessica Kos-Whicher writes about her most valuable lessons.

These pivotal moments come and go, and I recognized them as important as I allowed them to define the chapters of my life.

I am music educator, business owner & classically trained soprano. Over the years, I have experienced many pivotal moments in my journey to become who I am and will be. These pivotal moments come and go, and I recognized them as important as I allowed them to define the chapters of my life.

My journey to have a career in music, has not been the one I thought it would be. When I was 17, I thought I would move to the United States, get a very expensive degree and become an opera singer, living in an amazing apartment in New York. Oh, and I would be the “cool aunt”. As it turns out, I did visit New York twice… on vacation. And, I did have an apartment with the most epic view of Winnipeg anyone has ever seen. This was the apartment I taught online lessons out of through the Covid-19 pandemic when the world came to land on the longest fermata ever written. I did become the cool aunt, and I do sing often. My point is, usually the vision for your life is correct – but the details all get worked out as you sing through the score.

I have attended NUOVA Vocal Arts 3 times, and each time is has clarified my goals for that season of my life.

Discover it…every single time.

Jordan De Souza

The first time I got on a plane to NUOVA Vocal Arts, I was fresh out of my Bachelor of Music degree and I was given the opportunity to learn how to be curious. It was my first BIG role and the score was gigantic. And we were doing French spoken dialogue [in Carmen] instead of some of the recit. You know when you get a new score, and you just don’t want to be wrong? Perfectionism enters the room like an opera diva in a tight dress and tells you “you’re in front of Michael McMahon and if you make a tiny mistake you will never be a singer.” As it turns out – mistakes are fine. And, I learned a thing or thousand from some of the most brilliant artists and coaches in Canada about being curious. It’s amazing when you’re a creative person… but you’re afraid to be curious and to tap into that creative energy bubbling inside of you, and your given permission to take up space in a rehearsal hall. Discover it … every single time. Still, that lesson rings true every time I meet a new student, open a new score or learn a new business tactic.

Breathe about it.

Dawn Sadoway

The second time I ventured to Edmonton to sing in Dead Man Walking and Susannah – a really light hearted season. This was also at a time where I was questioning the meaning of my musical life. I had begun teaching, but was conflicted about what kind of teacher I was and about my audition season coming up. I was having trouble seeing through all the markings on the page of my life. And then, by some miracle I performed Susannah and learned how to be present in the moment. This is certainly one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. After singing “Ain’t it a pretty night” -my favourite aria, still to this day- I knew that auditions and a career as a performer was something I wanted to go ahead with. Even though none of those auditions were successful in the “I got the part” sense. They were wildly successful in putting me on the right path, learning how to roll with the punches (and if you own a business… you know how valuable THAT is), and taught me about singing in less than ideal scenarios. These are all skills that have become valuable in my life as a music educator.

Don’t be sorry… Just fix it.

Gordon Gerrard

A couple years into teaching and auditioning… the typical merry-go-round opera singers seem to have to ride; I was asked to return to NUOVA Vocal Arts. Kim is a special breed of human. A kind of cheerleader you really want in your corner. I was TERRIFIED to accept the role of Tatiana. I thought there was no way I could sing it… but Kim assured me that I certainly could, and I would. And I did. Not without a lot of hard work. Dramatically, technically & physically… this role demanded a lot. Even though I arrived an NUOVA extremely prepared, this role taught me how to work, how to problem solve and how to collaborate in a very new & exciting way!

During my last visit to NUOVA I had been inspired by so many possibilities for my own studio.

It was during this visit to NUOVA that I met Karen Santos – we would debrief every night about our rehearsals and acting classes. Quickly, she became one of my best and closest friends. That fall, when I began teaching I had so many ideas. During my last visit to NUOVA I had been inspired by so many possibilities for my own studio. The first being that I would start a summer camp. A camp where young singers would have the opportunity to learn from the best and immerse themselves in many art forms. I hired a dance, improv and a choral teacher. The campers were young, but that didn’t stop us from challenging them and putting on a concert in 5 days. … Sound familiar? A year later, I hired Karen, who now teaches for J. Kos-Whicher Vocal & Performing Arts! One of our favourite weeks is the summer camp we host in July. This is the best opportunity to “team-teach” and refer to all the things we so fondly treasure from our time at NUOVA.

…It shines a light on the abilities you didn’t know existed, challenges you to take the risk and if all else fails ‘breathe about it.

As I have spent the last several years teaching, I refer to all the things I learned at this incredible program. It truly shaped who I am. Last year I was offered my first adjudicating job in Edmonton, and I owe that to Kim – who by the way attended many of the classes to support me [and her students]. Not that she had to, but because she is part of my musical family.

The lessons I learned at NUOVA Vocal Arts have shaped the way I sing, perform, teach, communicate and run my business. Most importantly, it shines a light on the abilities you didn’t know existed, challenges you to take the risk & if all else fails “breathe about it”.

Jessica Kos-Whicher
Jessica Kos-Whicher

Hailed as “the next great one” (Doug Speirs, Winnipeg Free Press) Winnipeg-born soprano Jessica Kos-Whicher is currently a student of Tracy Dahl and Monica Huisman. Most recently, Jessica appeared as the Soprano Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Past highlights include Monica in The Medium with Flipside Opera, Micäela in La Tragédie de Carmen with Little Opera Company, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Manitoba Underground Opera, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin (NUOVA Vocal Arts), Pamina in The Magic Flute…Retold (Manitoba Underground Opera), Elle in La Voix Humaine, Sister Rose in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with NUOVA Vocal Arts. Jessica is a two-time encouragement award winner and a two-time regional finalist for the Met National Council Auditions. Jessica is the proud founder & director of J. Kos-Whicher Vocal & Performing Arts.

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