Last Day… :(

This past week has really been intense! I have to start with my story about the Potluck at Andrew’s on Natal Day. That day, I decided I’d make what Rachel ingeniously called a “Marshmallow Salad”, so I had to go to the grocery store to get the ingredients. I had planned out to go with Milena, and then we would take the bus from Quinnpool Road to Andrew’s house. As we were waiting for the bus to come, a woman came up to us and informed us that the buses weren’t working on Natal Day. It kind of made sense, I guess. So we started walking, to find another bus stop, and hopefully, there was a bus working. We walked… and walked… and walked… and stopped for a few pictures at Chocolate Lake… And walked… And kept on walking till we got to Andrew’s house. I was soooo tired!!! As soon as we got there, I started working on my marshmallow salad, and then went outside to rest for a while. It had been almost an hour walking, which is pretty fine, except for all the hills… Then, at night, Milena and I had decided we would leave together as well. Melody had informed us that some buses WERE working, as she took one over to Andrew’s house. So we checked out the itinerary, and there would be a bus passing close to Andrew’s at 9:10. It was 9:00, so we basically ran to the bus stop, and got there at 9:08. A bus passed, but it wasn’t the one we were looking for. Another one passed, and it was the same one that had passed earlier, but in the other directions. 2 taxis passed. Then they passed again, full of people from the potluck. 9:45, and we decided to walk back to Andrew’s and call a taxi. What an eventful day, huh?


So Tuesday was opening night for the Starboard Cast, and all I had to do was change sets and carry Phil on stage with Collin, Mike and Nick. The show went really well. As I said before, I’m just so proud to be surrounded by so much talent, yet being supported by others as well. On Wednesday night, it was my last time performing. I was really sad, because, although there were obvious difficulties in learning these two roles (Zetes, Olaf), I’ve feel I’ve grown in them and they’ve grown in me. So I told myself I’d be the best Zetes and the best Olaf there ever was that night. And I must say, I’m pretty proud of myself. I even managed the awkward moment when my headpiece was tangled up in Meghan’s hairpin with grace. Then after the show, it was Cabaret Night at Menz Bar. Again, so much talent! I hadn’t heard a few singers, because I was absent at a few masterclasses, and I was really amazed at so much talent. And Bunny as a host… Funny and fabulous! The show ended at around 11:30 I think, and I decided to stay a little bit, but the truth is I was tired. I’m the kind of person that gets really tired after a show. So I headed out, and as I was walking outside, Melody asked if I was going to call for a cab, and we ended up cabbing together.


Thursday was an off day. Brunch at Smitty’s with Rachel, Phil, Meghan, Alyssa, Andrew Hernández and Max as a guest, then a walk around the city (Black Market, Comic Store, etc) then Mean Girls at Meghan’s apartment, dinner at Coburg and Dream. I hadn’t yet seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and let me tell you… Costumes and Make-up? Awesome! Voices? Awesome! Acting? Awesome! Hilariously funny! It was really a great show.


Friday and Saturday was a really relax day for me. I decided I’d start washing clothes and packing. I guess I kind of need some alone time to think a few things out, besides coordinating my enrollment with the administration of the Conservatory via email.


And now, the last day of HSOW. A month has gone by so fast, it’s ridiculous! On Tuesday, I’ll be heading back to PR, and as soon as I get there, I’ll be heading to the Conservatory to wrap up my matriculation and taking my first class. Yes, classes start tomorrow. At least I don’t have classes on Mondays. Anyway, I was saying that this past month has gone by really fast. Too fast, I’d say. I’ve learned so many things, not only musically, but personally as well. I’ve met really fabulous people here, especially the stage managers, directors, music directors, and especially, my colleagues. Everybody here has been so nice to me. Even though I may seem a little quiet and shy, I’m not. All this time, I’ve been analyzing myself, and comparing backgrounds, and it has been really nice to see so many different backgrounds to mine. Everybody has such different experiences, and I just wanted to listen to everybody’s opinion. Also, there is the fact that, since I’m the “new guy” from Puerto Rico, I’ve been speaking Spanish for the past 18 years of my life, which means that sometimes, or should I say most times, I find myself organizing my thoughts in Spanish, then translating them into English, just because I don’t want to make mistakes when I’m speaking English. It’d be kind of awkward if an English teacher made mistakes. Anyway, I’ve really learned a lot this past month. A few things I’ve learned:


  1. In Halifax, always carry an umbrella.
  2. In Halifax, you can cross the road, and people will actually stop.
  3. Music directors here are actually nice and VERY helpful.
  4. The difference between a stage manager and a stage director.
  5. Bridesmaids is a really funny movie!
  6. Egyptian rat screw (I think that’s the name…) with the boys at the dressing room.
  7. I’ve practically memorized the girls’ chorus parts from Riders to the sea.
  8. I love coffee! And I don’t love tea.
  9. I don’t like Sushi. This one I already knew, but I just confirmed it. J


I think that pretty much sums up what I’ve learned here. I know, most things actually don’t have to do with singing or acting, but then again, I think we all learned a lot about that, and don’t want to bore you.


So, if you have not guessed so by now, this is officially my last post. This is the post where I say goodbye to you, the readers, and goodbye to the wonderful people I’ve met here. It has truly been a great experience for me being here. Hopefully, I’ll come back one day, and I’ll see the people once again. Thank you all for letting me part of such a wonderful workshop, and believe me, I appreciate and will miss all of you.


Truly yours,

Pedro Arroyo

The Puerto-Rican Tenor

End of 3rd week… Last week! :(

So many things to say about such an important week!

This past week was the hectic week of dress rehearsals, costume fittings, fight calls, you name it… It was a pretty busy week, but I always managed to do things outside of the schedule. On Monday, I went to get sushi with Phil, Rachel and Melody. Since I’m not much of a fish eater, I’ve never been a fan of sushi. They tried to convince me of trying it, but I was very hesitant. I ordered the beef teriyaki and chicken teriyaki rolls. They were pretty nice, though not as good as I expected. Then, after I was full, Rachel told me to try one of her sushi rolls. I decided to do so. Big mistake… I will not go into details, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. Afterwards, we went strolling down Spring Garden Road, and stopped at Il Mercato Trattoria (I think that’s the name!) for some delicious gelato. That was awesome!

On Tuesday, I can’t seem to remember what happened. All I know is there were many rehearsals. On Wednesday, most of the rehearsals were canceled, so I had nothing to do during the day. So I went back to my room and slept a while. Then, I went to facebook and saw that Allison Mills had posted a status, saying that it would be nice to have dinner out, so we immediately started planning, but had no idea where to go. Then, a few minutes later, I received a message that Nicholas, Tessa, Collin, Jennifer and her would go out for… wait for it… Sushi. I said to myself “Not again!!”, but just to spend time with the new people in my life, I went. There were non-sushi items on the menu, and that’s exactly what I got. Nicholas tried to convince me in trying other sushi rolls, but I just couldn’t. Now, I have to say… I’m awesome with chopsticks! It was my 2nd time eating with chopsticks, and never dropped anything! Then, we went to the waterfront for a little while, and we each headed to our homes.

Thursday and Friday were dress rehearsal days. Although there were still some difficulties, at least, in The Harpies, everything went pretty good, in my opinion. I mean, that’s what dress rehearsals are for. After the first dress rehearsal, we were all pretty hungry, so we headed to The Fickle Frog to have some dinner, and there was the cast of Carmen as well. So you can imagine a very long table full of opera singers. Lovely experience!

Friday’s rehearsal went pretty well also. Then, that night was opening night for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by Benjamin Britten. I couldn’t go because I really had to do laundry, but I’ve heard many wonderful things about the show. On Saturday, I’m guessing that I did the same as many people did… Sleep late! I woke up exactly at noon! So I dressed up quickly, had a quick “breakfast” and went to see the opening of Carmen, by Georges Bizet. It was a beautiful show! Everyone did a great job! After the show, I quickly went for food, ‘cause I was green (I’m not sure if the same expression is used in English, but in Spanish, when we say “Estoy verde”, which literally means I’m green, it means we’re really hungry). Then I went home, to rest for my own big day.

Now is a good time to mention that this week, I’ve had a few problems with English! For the first time since I got here, I’ve accidentally started speaking Spanish, or at least mumbled a word or two, just to realize that most people won’t understand, and I have to stop and think about what I want to say. That’s why, at most times, I’m pretty quiet, because I’m listening to what I hear, and trying to think more in English. Because it’s really weird when somebody comes up to you while your eating and says “Buen provecho”, which is “Enjoy your meal.” Or somebody that hits you accidentally, and says “Ay, perdón. Mala mía”, which means “Oh, sorry. My bad.”

So… Opening day, huh? Yeah. I woke up early, took a shower, and left to have some breakfast at Coburg Coffee. However, when I woke up, I noticed that I felt the whole world twirling around me. I was really dizzy! I decided to ignore it and keep on moving, but as I walked, it was getting worse. I even feared falling down! When I got to Dalhousie Arts Centre, I sat in the dressing room, and all of a sudden, I had to rush to the bathroom to regurgitate. I don’t understand why, but I just did. But after I did, I felt so much better! I wasn’t dizzy anymore. I felt energized, and ready to start the show! We had our fight call, our curtain call rehearsal, and then, costume change. Then, I heard Tessa’s sweet voice… “Places, everyone!” It was time. I wasn’t really nervous, but more anxious to get out to the stage and show everybody what I’m capable of doing. I really wanted to do a good job. Everything went great! The audience was lovely, and laughed a lot during The Harpies and Gisela in her Bathtub. Then, they cried with Riders to the sea. It was a magical two hours in Studio One. I just can’t wait for my next performance… I’m thirsty for more!!!

I just want to end this blog post by thanking the administrative team of HSOW for giving me the opportunity of being part of this wonderful workshop. Tessa, Jennifer, Bonnie and Steven, thank you so much for your time, effort and patience. And last but not least, all my fellow singers on stage and in other productions. This has truly been a wonderful experience for me, and I hope to come back soon!

Just in case, this isn’t my last post. I know those last few sentences make it seem so, but it isn’t.

See y’all!

Week #2 has ended… C’mon, week #3!!! Let’s do this!

So, another week has gone by, with many new experiences; some good, others not so good. For example, last Tuesday, I woke up with a super migraine, that I stumbled upon my own feet walking to the washroom. The lights in the hallway were so painful; every little noise was so painful. It was horrible! All I wanted to do was go back to bed and forget about everything. But I had to go to rehearsal. So I went, did my job, and people were kind enough to let me go early (thanks Bonnie, Jen and Tessa!). It really wasn’t my day. Good things: we basically staged “Gisela in her bathtub” and “The Harpies” completely! Everything is coming along so well. A few mistakes here and there, but each time we run through the shows, they are less and less than before.

On Thursday, as I was entering Dal Arts Centre, this man, one I had never seen before, comes to me and asks me if that was the building where the operas were being rehearsed. I said yes. He asked my name, and I told him. Immediately, he said: “Sacco?”… I was kind of freaked out… Sacco? What is Sacco? And in a matter of seconds, I remember… Sacco is the tenor role from Sacco and Vanzetti, the opera by Marc Blitzstein and completed by Leonard Lehrman, where “With a woman to be” (the aria I would perform in the American Aria Recital) is from. So I said: “Yes”. Then he said: “Why, hello! I’m Leonard Lehrman”. So I had just met the composer. I kindly showed him where we were all rehearsing, and he started telling me so many stories about the opera, about Blitzstein, about his wife, about everything. Then we had him sitting in our rehearsal for “The Harpies”, by Blitzstein as well. He gave us some notes here and there.

That same afternoon, I would have my coaching time with him. I was a bit scared, because there some parts of the aria were kind of difficult, and didn’t want to make mistakes. Contrary to what I expected, the coaching went well. He encouraged me to keep on working, and helped me a lot in the difficult areas. He only had the nicest words for me. Then, at night was his master class, which had an extra visitor: soprano Helene Williams, his wife. They both guided each participant in the master class.

On Friday, we had our rehearsal for the American Aria Recital. Boy, was that rehearsal long! Especially for those of us who had an ensemble piece with somebody from the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by Benjamin Britten. As soon as I got out, I went directly to bed, as I knew the next day would be long.

So the first day of run-throughs came. Everything went pretty well in my opinion. As I said before, a few things here and there, but we managed to work through all of the One Act Operas. It was also the first time I heard “Riders to the sea” and “Thyrsis and Amaranth”. Beautiful music! But Riders is so depressing… What opera is all about! =D Then, at night we had our American Aria Recital at Peggy Corkum Music Room. The participants were: Nicholas Fuqua, Jeremy Hirsch, Nicole Smith, Laura Noack, Will Ford, Erin Passmore, Allison Mills, Max Zander, Kelsey Vicary, Rachel Wood, Alexander Wilson, Nina Scott-Stoddart, Helene Williams, Dr. Leonard Lehrman, and ME! =D I have to say that we all were great! So much talent! I was really happy and pleased with how great we all were. I was especially happy because I was able to sing those high B flats without my voice cracking! =D

Today… Well, today I woke up almost at noon, headed down to Smitty’s for breakfast, went to Bookmark to see some, well, books, Starbucks for a frapuccino, a little walk in the Public Gardens (yes, again… They’re so beautiful! I’d happily live there if I could!) and dinner at Smitty’s (yes, again) and now I’m sitting in room writing this blog entry, while I listen to Fantasia Barrino’s “Collard greens and cornbread”. I don’t know why I love this song so much! And her voice kinda gets on my nerves, but I like it… Mixed emotions…

So what happens now? Production week! Hectic rehearsals! Yay! Can’t wait! (No, I’m not being sarcastic) This is the week when the magic happens. I just want to wish everybody a great time in this next week! See ya!

1st week

Let me just start by saying that this has been an intense week for all of us at HSOW. Great kick-start to what will be an intense month for all of us. Excellent master-classes, excellent rehearsals, excellent everything! I just really need to express hoy joyful I am for being here. That being said, let me get into more detail.

The second day we started our Acting classes with Steven Bourque. We did exercises focusing on what our bodies can do. So many movements possible, yet so many of us are kind of stiff when it comes to singing (especially me!). We had explorations on a short, simple text, which was fun. We also did movements with words, and that was funny to do and to watch! I specifically had the word “Bumblebee”, and really had fun with that word. I really enjoyed all the acting classes.

As we entered our first acting classes, we also began our series of master classes. The master classes we had this week were offered by Lenard Whiting, Jessica McCormack, Nina Scott-Stoddart and Anthony Radford, in which I had the privilege to sing. I have to say that being surrounded by so much talent here at HSOW honors me. There are so many amazing voices. And the teachers offering the master classes were really great, as well. I’ve learned so many things (or actually, heard things I’ve already known, but in a new perspective!). Speaking from my own master class, I had a blast singing “Una furtiva lagrima” (one of may favorite tenor arias), but I was really cold. I’m not sure if it was because I was nervous, but I was the coldest I’ve ever been. But I really learned a lot. Now, something I’m not used to is having so many people congratulating me, complimenting my performance. I get so bashful when someone comes up to me and says “You did a great job! Beautiful voice!” At times, I don’t know what to say, so I say thank you, but still feeling that it is not enough for all the kind words I’ve received. The people surrounding me are really great, not only talent-wise, but also personally. So polite, so welcoming. I’m really having a blast.

So today was our day off. I went to see the tall ships with Sabrina Romero and Alex Wilson. I had fish & chips for the 1st time. It was really good! Then we had ice cream at Cow’s, the best ice cream in the world! It really is… I also had Poutine! I’m really checking things off of my Canadian To-do list! When I came back, I was going to take a nap, but instead I started facebooking, and about 10 or 15 minutes, received a text message from Rachel Wood inviting to Salty’s, as Allison Mills had invited me the day before. So I put my shoes back on and walked down. Since I had eaten so much, I decided I’d just go to hang out… ended up ordering a Cajun Chicken Salad (not into seafood…), and a white sangria. It was really good! Then, most of the group wanted to eat ice cream at Cow’s, but I couldn’t possibly do so again. Instead, I headed on home.

Now, I’m in my room, thinking about this next week. If the first week was intense, I can only imagine how intense things will become. Really looking forward to it! Rehearsing with such talented people, master classes. I’m having a great time.

See you soon!

First day of HSOW!

     Board at the entrance of Dalhousie Arts Centre     Hi! My name is Pedro Arroyo, and I am a lyric tenor from Morovis/Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. I am 27 years old and am about to finish my BM in Voice Performance at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of lyric soprano Zoraida López. How did I get here? How did I get to know about HSOW? Easy: Google. For the past few years, I’ve been wanting to participate in a summer workshop for singers, yet haven’t had the courage to audition (or send in an audition recording). This year, as I entered my third year of study, and realized that I hadn’t done anything yet (and years go by fast…), I decided to look for a summer workshop that I thought would be a great opportunity for me to grow. So I saw many, MANY different websites, but the one that caught my attention the most was HSOW, mostly, because of the cost. J I read everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) about the summer camp, and consulted with my voice teacher. She said, “It’s about time, Pedro! Go for it!” So I did. And here I am. Freezing my butt of in front of Dalhousie Arts Centre waiting for my next rehearsal in a few minutes.  (It’s pretty cold outside today).I just went back to my room to look for a jacket, but got involved in other things, and came back… without my jacket. Why is it that most singers are so absent-minded? Well, that’s another topic we can discuss over coffee… or tea. What was I talking about? (See?!)

            I know it’s only the first day of the workshop, but I just had to sit down and write! As I entered the room for the first meeting, I was really nervous… like kindergarten nervous. First day of school, don’t know anyone. The first person that talks to me is Nina Scott-Stoddart, as she recognizes me and calls me by my name. (Great memory!) I sat down, and silently observed everyone: who came in, who sat down, who was talking to who, etc. This man starts talking to me, introduces himself, and we engage in a little, courteous conversation. A few minutes later, I find out he is Mr. Tony Radford, and I will be singing in his master class this Saturday. We all introduced ourselves, which was pretty fun. I’m the only one from Puerto Rico. Then we divided into our separate shows to discuss characters, costumes, etc. For about an hour, we all engaged in interesting conversations about our characters and the storyline. In the afternoon, we would all have our first musical rehearsal. As I may have or may not have mentioned (I just checked, and didn’t mention it… Don’t want to fix it… It’s more interesting this way!), I will be performing the roles of Olaf in Gisela in her bathtub and Zetes in The Harpies. My first rehearsal was for Gisela. We all sat down, both casts, and when our musical director Jennifer Szeto asked who would sing first… Silence. Timidly, I stood up, with Alexander Wilson and Meghan Jamieson. Everything began smoothly… Better than I expected, as it was my first time singing it full voice and with piano. A few things to work on here and there, but to be the first time, everything went pretty good. Then, at around the middle, we switched casts. After that first rehearsal ended, I quickly went back to my room to look for my jacket. And here I am, sitting in front of Dalhousie Arts Centre, without it. Well, gotta go. My next rehearsal is in 10 minutes. I’ll tell you how it went…

To be continued…

So my second rehearsal was for The Harpies. I thought I had this one down, but guess what… I didn’t! Many entrances were a little difficult, a few notes here and there notes… But with the help of our music director, we made it through. As I was walking out after rehearsal, I checked on my phone to see if I had any new messages, and fell on the stairs… Thanks to Phillip Rego for not laughing at me. And that’s the end of my first day. Pretty cool, huh?

My favorite color is purple. (Random, I know.)