Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Broadening the Circle: The Formative Years and the Future of the Voice Foundation

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Broadening the Circle: The Formative Years and the Future of the Voice Foundation

Article excerpt

Howe, Martha. Broadening the Circle: The Formative Years and the Future of The Voice Foundation. Oxford: Compton Publishing Ltd., 2015. Paper, viii, 147 pp., $29.95. ISBN 978-1909082-50-2 www.comptonpubllshing. co.uk

The art of singing and the science of voice research have been inextricably linked since Manuel Garcia invented the laryngoscope. The marriage of singing and science, however, has not always been harmonious; the respective disciplines often view the other with wariness or even disdain. Since that revelatory day in 1854, medical instruments have improved, and singing teachers have drawn upon scientific research for pedagogic purposes, such as William Vennard in Singing: The Mechanism and the Technic (New Y ork: Carl Fischer, Inc., 1967). But it was an otolaryngologist, Wilbur James Gould, who created a forum for interdisciplinary research and discussion about the voice. In 1971, Gould organized the inaugural "Care of the Professional Voice" Symposium and invited laryngologists, voice scientists, singers, voice teachers, and representatives from other voice professions to discuss problems and research. These annual symposia developed into The Voice Foundation. In Broadening the Circle, author Martha Howe traces the evolution, mission, and direction of The Voice Foundation.

The account is largely based upon interviews with twenty-four members of The Voice Foundation who helped to create and develop the organization. Throughout the volume, the importance of W. James Gould in the creation of the Foundation is emphasized. Gould's fascination with the voice guided and permeated his career. He trained and taught in the field of otolaryngology, and listed a large number of celebrities among his patients, including four American presidents, singers of all genres of music, and television anchors. Gould was a strong proponent of cooperation among his colleagues, and he would often meet with other laryngologists, such as Van Lawrence, Friedrich Brodnitz, and Hans von Leden to compare research and discuss cases. In 1969, as chronicled by Howe, the Collegium Medicorum Theatri and the Save a Voice Foundation were established. Both were intended to create networks that would advance voice science and research, the former for laryngologists, and the latter for the myriad other professionals associated with care of the professional voice. Two years later, the groups merged into The Voice Foundation. The interviewees cite the pivotal and passionate role played by Gould, who is described as "enthusiastic about bringing people together, getting people trained, and getting people interested in voice, and he was so excited about interdisciplinary care."

Voice teachers and singers, especially those who are longtime readers of Journal of Singing, will recognize many of the names referenced. Van Lawrence, who was mentioned above, wrote a regular column on the care of the voice that was legendary among National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) members, while Frederich Brodnitz authored Keep Your Voice Healthy: A Guide to the Intelligent Use and Care of the Speaking and Singing Voice (New York: Harper, 1953), an early and influential volume on voice care for the lay person. The list of individuals who shared their experiences and recollections includes singers Cynthia Hoffman and Harolyn Blackwell, laryngologists Robert Sataloff and Michael Benninger, voice scientists Johan Sundberg and Ingo Titze, and speech language pathologists John Haskell and Linda Carroll, to name only a few. In addition to responding to questions posed by Howe, each of the selected twenty-four Voice Foundation members provides a brief biography; these sketches are interspersed throughout the volume.

The history of The Voice Foundation mirrors the advances in voice science. Thirty years ago, Howe points out, there were only three doctors' offices in the United States with videostroboscopes, and medical textbooks did not have chapters on laryngology. …

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