Article by Sarah Alo
When Qiana McNary walked into her audition at Ohio Wesleyan University, she had not one bit of formal training. Armed with only her natural talent, plus the Italian aria she learned with the help of her high school chorus teacher, she went to the audition expecting nothing to come of it. She ended up with a full scholarship.
Now an opera singer and recent graduate of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, McNary uses Velvet Singer as an integral part of her career.
“It’s a useful tool, and it’s more specific than YAP Tracker,” McNary said.
Like most graduates transitioning from school to a career, McNary is not sure of her next move. She may want to continue her education and get her doctorate, or she may decide to prepare for auditions in the fall.
The transition is somewhat scary, but Velvet Singer helps. In school, she found that a lot of her appointments and scheduling were easier to keep up with, but now that she has graduated, Velvet Singer assists in organizing her career.
McNary’s recent and upcoming projects include the Southshore Opera Company’s Summer Nights, which featured staged scenes from famous operas like Le Nozze di Figaro (where she played Countess Almaviva), and other scenes from Carmen, The Pearl Fishers, Treemonisha, and Rigoletto. She also plans to audition with Hyde Park Union Church, and hopes to do a small Midwest tour with fellow African-American classical singers in a concert titled Classically Black. Her aspiration for the future, though, is to end up a mainstream opera singer at somewhere like The Met.
Singing is her great passion. “You get to express yourself in a different form. It sets me in a place like no other,” she said. “I like the learning part, too. Classical singing takes work.”
It takes work to keep up with all of the details, too. McNary uses Velvet Singer to do just that.
Even if singers cannot remember to keep up with the details of career management, Velvet Singer keeps them on track. It gives its users the option to set up an automatic launch of the program however often the user wants. Velvet Singer opens up for them, reminding them to stay on task. It also has a feature to help track expenses and earnings.
“I have it set to pop up every Wednesday,” McNary said. “I’m really bad about expenses, and it’s helpful with that. It helped when doing taxes. I was missing something and was able to find it with Velvet Singer and extract it right there.”
For her, the most useful part of Velvet Singer is the “Selection Performed by Success” report that keeps track of which repertoire was the most successful during auditions.
“It keeps track for me by counting how many times I am successful with the arias I used,” she said. “It’s really user-friendly.”