Adam Faderewski 2018-02-27 18:34:05
Voice Lessons A Dallas attorney sings her way around the world. For Marsha L. Dekan, a shareholder in SettlePou in Dallas, singing has been a part of life since she was 4 years old living in Massillon, Ohio. She sang throughout school, including as a member of the Washington High School Choir in Massillon, which has a long tradition of superior solo and choral performances in competition, and during law school at the University of Texas in Austin when she sang with the Austin Civic Chorus. Her love of vocal music prompted Dekan to audition for the Dallas Symphony Chorus in 1980. Since that time, she has traveled extensively while on tour, performing in Austria, Germany, Israel, Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, France, and Colorado, and at numerous concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York under various conductors and orchestras. This past February, Dekan took part as an alumna member in the Dallas Symphony Chorus’ 40-year anniversary celebration. What does being part of the Dallas Symphony Chorus entail? The Dallas Symphony Chorus is the vocal performing arm of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which programs a series of three to five major choral masterworks every year. Some of my favorite works are Gustav Mahler’s Second and Eighth Symphonies, Verdi’s “Requiem,” Bach’s “B Minor Mass,” and Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers.” The chorus rehearses every Monday night until performance week when the entire week is taken up with rehearsals and performances. That doesn’t count the numerous and wildly popular Dallas Symphony Orchestra Christmas concerts. We’re required to sing 13 of those concerts during the month of December, which makes for a demanding month for choral singers. Did you ever take private vocal lessons or have any type of training? After joining the Dallas Symphony Chorus, I began taking private voice lessons, with an emphasis on opera and other classical literature, including performances in opera workshops, recitals, and church solos and duets. What about singing appeals to you? I value the discipline, focus, attention, and coordination required of choristers and instrumentalists under the baton of talented conductors such as Maestro Jaap van Zweden to create extraordinary musical moments. What is the hardest part while singing a song? The easiest? As time passes, the hardest part for me, as a soprano, has been the notes above the staff. The easiest part is the sheer anticipation at the beginning of a piece and the sheer exhilaration of accomplishment at the end. Do you have a special memory from your time with the chorus? Oh my, yes. I met my significant other (who also sings in the chorus) on a summer tour to the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder in 1992. We met on a five-hour hike that took us to the top of Green Mountain Peak. Every 10 years since then, we’ve gone back and redone that hike. We just hiked it again last year for our 25th anniversary. What was one of the most interesting places you have toured with the chorus? During our 1985 European tour for the Bach Tri-centennial we sang in Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) in Leipzig, East Germany, before the Berlin Wall fell. Our experiences in Leipzig, then under communist rule, were unforgettable. Also unforgettable were our performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv under Maestro Zubin Mehta for Jerusalem’s 3,000th anniversary (and my unauthorized, eye-opening side-visit to the Gaza Strip). What made you want to practice law? I grew up in a blue-collar town and wasn’t really expected to go to college, so I became a legal secretary. When I was 25, I was given a gift certificate for an evening college course at Southern Methodist University, and I soon figured out how I could afford to go to undergraduate school. After undergrad, I naturally gravitated back to the law because I had enjoyed and appreciated my experiences as a legal secretary. How does singing relate to your work? Singing is a very disciplined activity, but it’s also a stress reliever and a spiritual uplifter. It’s both mathematical and emotional. Above: Marsha L. Dekan and her significant other, John Fattaruso, stand by the showcase outside Carnegie Hall in New York before an April 2004 performance of Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda with the Opera Orchestra of New York under the direction of Eve Queler.
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