The beautiful area around Schroon Lake serves as the backdrop to an unexpected delight. There's a whole summer season of musical shows in this very special place.
Drawing from a talent pool from far and wide, Schroon Lake is home to the Seagle Music Colony, the oldest summer singer training program in the country.
Brainchild of Oscar Seagle
The Seagle Music Colony was created by, and named for, Oscar Seagle. In the year of its founding, 1915, he was a world-renowned baritone who had made concert tours in the United States and Europe. He also recorded albums for Columbia, like his World War I hit, “Dear Old Pal of Mine.”
“There is about the name of Oscar Seagle a glow of brilliant years and extraordinary musical associations. His relationship with the immortal de Reszke and his own position as a master of many singers have made him unique among American artists.” (New York Morning Telegram)
He had ended a long teaching relationship in Europe with his own mentor, the great Polish tenor Jean de Reszke, and was seeking to establish a similar position for himself in the United States. A teaching engagement at the Brown Swan Club drew him to Schroon Lake. By 1922, he had established, and expanded, his teaching duties into an entire Adirondack complex of learning and performing, attracting highly regarded teachers and talented students, including his own son, John.
John Seagle, in his position on the staff of WRGB in Schenectady, frequently used Colony singers, who were one of the first groups to perform in front of television cameras. In 1941 they formed a Colony Opera Guild, performing at the Wikiosko Barn Theatre on Lake George. Even today, the colony is still in the family, continuing under the stewardship of John’s son Peter, his wife Dodie, and their three sons.
It is now considered the “Best Summer Vocal Training Program in the United States” according to Classical Singer Magazine in the year 2000. Over 500 applicants vie for the opportunity to attend the Colony.
Today, the tradition is thriving as a new season of theatrical delights is planned.
The 2017 season
Seagle will kick off their 102nd season with two shows in June. First, there is a Community Concert at Schroon Lake Central School on June 17, at 7:30 pm. Four of their emerging artists will perform a revue of past shows and a mini-preview of the summer season. Second, their traditional opening concert is scheduled for June 24 at 8 pm at the Colony. The program, "Old Friends & New," will feature songs and arias from all 32 of the artists, and will be followed by a reception where audience members can meet and greet the singers. This one is very popular!
Their main season of July and August will take place at the Oscar Seagle Memorial Theatre. They will be staging "The Light in the Piazza,"a stunning 2005 Tony and Drama Desk winning musical by composer Adam Guettel and based on the novella by Elizabeth Spenser.
The above photo from the 2016 production, "The Elixir of Love."
Next up will be "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead," a hilarious new comic opera with a score and libretto by composer Herschel Garfein, based on the play by the renowned Tom Stoppard. This piano-vocal premiere will showcase a tuneful musical style with lots of comedy.
Mozart classic "The Magic Flute" will be featured in August, with memorable arias, mystical characters, dramatic moments and much humor. It will be sung in German with projected English supertitles and English dialogue.
This is followed by a different kind of classic, "My Fair Lady," one of the most beloved and well-known musicals of all time, in mid-August.
This still is from the 2016 production, "Roscoe."
Check our Events Calendar for details of these performances.
There is more
The Boathouse Theater is a performance space on the shore of Schroon Lake, and will be the venue for "Little Red’s Most Unusual Day," a children's opera which is John Davie’s take on the traditional Little Red fairy-tale, only with Dudley the forest ranger and a man-crazy grandma. Thirty minutes of fun for any age!
There will be the Patrice Munsel Gala which is Seagle Music Colony’s largest annual fund-raising event. A full evening including an elegant dinner, drinks, dessert and dancing, which includes entertainment by the Seagle Music Colony Emerging Artists.
This still is from the 2016 production, "The Music Man."
Another fine fundraiser is the Piano Duo Concert with local pianists Milton Farbstein & Suzanne Fremon. For the Seagle Music Colony Guild Scholarship Fund.
The Guild Scholarship Luncheon is held at The Sagamore Resort, Bolton Landing, NY. A highlight of the summer social season in the North Country!
There will be two Vespers Concerts, a program of sacred choral music and vocal solos. This has been a Schroon Lake tradition for most of Seagle Music Colony's over 100-year history.
The featured evening of song will be called "A Revue" and will close out the season with the fall outreach artists. Let them take you on a journey through memorable songs made famous by Broadway and Hollywood.
Hope to see you there!
This week our ADK bloggers are counting on spring!