Being a Citrus Singer can be fun. It also requires commitment.
Being a member of the Citrus Singers is not a casual experience, being a Citrus Singer is a lifestyle.
“They’re extremely busy and extremely committed,” said director Doug Austin. “You cannot do any less than 100 percent.”
The conservatory involves four courses, including chamber singers, one-on-one lessons; offered in applied music, and two performance and rehearsal dance classes. Citrus Singers are truly “full-time” committed art students.
Singers go through a rigorous audition process and if a member is selected, they are part of the Singers for a yearlong commitment. The entirety of the program lasts three years, during which performers sing at various venues around the world.
Since the school does not pay for their travels, they sell tickets to their shows and rely on donations. They also fundraise to make the money to travel for their performances.
Student director Kevin Gasil, a third year singer, assumes a leadership role in the group. He is the second in the chain of command after director Doug Austin.
“It’s a great program because they expect you to commit so much of your life so we’re here at least three to four hours a day. I’m committing a lot to this program so I need to be doing the best that I can do,” Gasil said.
“They’re great people. They’re intelligent and developing a passion for their future.”
Brittany Tangermann, a second year singer, says that “it’s hard but it’s fun.” She knows a thing or two about commitment. She travels from Torrance, Calif. to Citrus College everyday. Last year she took the bus everyday for a three-hour commute.
This year’s focus for the Singers is musical theater. During spring break, the students went to New York to perform classical choral concerts in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, attended Broadway shows, and did workshops with Broadway performers.
Next year the focus will be on classical music and the performers will travel to Europe. Last year they went to Italy for two weeks and visited Florence, Rome, and Milan.
The third year is pop music. They will contract with one of the five-star resorts in Hawaii and the Singers will perform there.
The Citrus Singers are scheduled to perform in the Haugh Performing Arts Center on May 17 at 8 p.m. and May 19 and 20 at 2 p.m.
This year, the annual performance by the Singers will include a Grease medley, an 80s medley, a salute to Motown, and an assortment of contemporary hits, including country music artist Josh Turner’s 2007 hit, “Firecracker.”
It’s just a good time, a lot of fun,” said choreographer John Vaughan. “It’s two hours of escapism.”