Summer Programs

  • Vocal Program


    Preparing young singers for a lifetime of music.

    The experience of a lifetime, the experience for a lifetime.

    Hotchkiss Summer Portals is where young, self-motivated singers go to meet other like-minded students and to take their performing to the next level: from the enthusiastic amateur to the budding pre-professional, each student will leave with a set of skills and relationships that last a lifetime. Building independent and confident musicians is the primary goal at Hotchkiss, as is providing them the skills necessary to operate effectively in a professional musical situation. While not all of our graduates go on to pursue careers as singers, those that do cite their Hotchkiss experience as having prepared them for the competitive professional music world.

    Every level of musician is welcome at Hotchkiss, from novice middle school choristers to high school seniors ready to take their first steps toward a musical career. Because the faculty at Hotchkiss places a strong emphasis on small group and one-on-one coaching, each student receives individualized instruction that is appropriate to his or her level. However, beyond the individual and group instruction that each student receives, what makes the Hotchkiss Summer Portals program unique is the experience that each student has interacting and performing with the visiting artists and the guest teachers. Students are given the opportunity to observe world-class musicians, perform beside them, and then to take what they’ve learned back onto the stage as more mature and highly developed singers.

    A Typical Day
    Days at Hotchkiss are packed with learning, performing, and recreation; an average day might go as follows:

    7:30 Breakfast
    8:00 All-School Morning Meeting
    8:30 Guided Vocal Warmups or individual practice time
    9:00 Musicianship Classes
    9:30 Chamber Music Coaching
    10:30 Break
    11:00 Chamber Choir Rehearsal with Guest Choir
    12:00 Lunch
    1:00 Solo vocal masterclass with Guest Artist
    3:30 Recreation or Private Voice Lesson
    5:30 Dinner
    7:30 Evening Concert featuring Guest Artist

    Students will perform in at least one concert per week of participation; each concert is a showcase of their work for that week, and may include choral works, one-on-a-part chamber pieces, small opera scenes, and some solo repertoire.

    HSP Level I | Introduction to Vocal Music
    Level I Vocal Instruction is for students entering grades 6-9 and is a week-long immersion program wherein students participate in rehearsals and performances of choral and chamber repertoire with individualized instruction and a strong musicianship curriculum.

    HSP Level II | Chamber Music
    (By audition only)
    Level II is for students entering grades 9 – 12 (recent high school graduates may be accepted), and is an intensive three-week course that will challenge enthusiastic and talented singers. Students focus on singing one-on-a-part repertoire in order to build independence and musicianship, and perform side-by-side with guest ensembles. Additionally, Level II musicians take on the role of mentors to the Level I students during the middle week of the Portals program.

    HSP Level III | Ensemble Building
    (By audition only; coming in 2015)
    The most advanced students of high school age (or having just graduated) may be invited to participate in Level III of the Portals program. Level III is an intensive three-week program for highly motivated and skilled singers to further focus on vocal technique, musicianship, and, most importantly, ensemble-building. Each singer is placed in a student-only ensemble that rehearses and performs together over a three-week period, receiving in-depth coaching from world-class guest artists and outside performance opportunities.

    The Hotchkiss Chamber Choir
    The Hotchkiss Chamber Choir is a 16-voice professional vocal ensemble, in residence at Summer Portals beginning in 2014. Advanced members of the HSP music program will have the opportunity to sing side-by-side with working professional singers in the preparation of high-level repertoire for performances at Hotchkiss and in the community.

  • Date • Cost

    Date: June 22 - July 13, 2014

    High School Singers: $2235

    Vocal Faculty

    Spotlight Awards Scholarships

  • Visiting Ensembles

    Cincinnati Boychoir

    Since 1965, the Cincinnati Boychoir has been dedicated to the musical, intellectual, and emotional development of young men and has served as one of the foremost music education and performance organizations in the region; now in its forty-ninth season, the Cincinnati Boychoir is recognized as one of the premiere Boychoirs in the United States. Located in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood (the urban arts core) of Cincinnati, the Boychoir reaches approximately 200 young men each year from more than 75 schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, and focuses its mission on reaching under-served parts of the region and supporting the revitalization of the downtown area.

    Christopher Eanes
    Managing Artistic Director

    The Dessoff Choir

    The Dessoff Choir has been a trailblazing musical institution in New York City since its founding in 1924. The choir sings a wide range of repertoire, from the Renaissance music that established its reputation in the early part of the twentieth century to groundbreaking premieres of new music. The Dessoff Chamber Choir returns to Hotchkiss for a second year under the direction of their conductor Chris Shepard, performing music of all periods, including selections from Brahms’ own arrangement of his German Requiem with four-hand piano.

  • 2013 Student  Concerts


Christopher Shepard

Music Director

Chris Shepard is a conductor with a special interest in the choral music of J.S. Bach. He founded the Sydneian Bach Choir & Orchestra in Sydney, Australia in 2001. With that ensemble, he conducted all of Bach’s major choral-orchestral works, and directed nearly eighty of Bach’s cantatas.

Chris has presented two nationally televised documentaries in Australia: a program about Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and From Mozart to Morrison with jazz trumpeter James Morrison. He has also been guest conductor of many choirs and orchestras in Australia and America.

Chris was Director of Music at Sydney Grammar School from 1996 to 2008, after having served as Head of the Arts Department at the Taft School in Connecticut for nearly a decade. He is Artistic Director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York City and the Worcester Chorus in Massachusetts. Chris holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the Hartt School, a master’s degree in choral conducting from Yale and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Sydney.

Pamela Mindell

Artistic Director

Pamela Mindell, conductor, is Acting Director of Choral Activities at Clark University (MA) this year. She also conducts the oldest singers of the Worcester Children’s Chorus, Tour Chorus. From 2004-2011, Pamela was Director of Choral Programs at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Under her direction, the Holy Cross choirs traveled to Italy and Spain, as well as throughout the Northeastern United States, singing in such venues as Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Recent performances include a concert of Sacred Latin American music with renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, and Osvaldo Golijov’s Pasion segun San Marco.

Prior to her work at Holy Cross, Pamela taught at Smith College (MA) and spent a year in Sydney, Australia, conducting and singing professionally. Since that time, she has been invited back to Sydney as guest conductor and soloist for the Sydney Grammar Bach Festivals. Pamela has worked with a number of children’s choirs, including the Litchfield County Children’s Choir in CT and the Paradise City Children’s Choir, which she founded in 2001. As a soprano, Pamela has performed in several recitals with mezzo-soprano Justina Golden. She has sung with The Boston Secession and with Emmanuel Music in Boston. Pamela has served as Artistic Director of the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Chamber Program for high school singers since 2005.

Pamela received her doctorate in Choral Conducting from Yale University, where she studied with Marguerite Brooks and David Connell. She holds a master’s degree in Music Education from The Hartt School as well as a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Princeton University.

KellyAnn Nelson

Summer Portals Middle School Choral Music Program Director

KellyAnn Nelson, Summer Portals Middle School Choral Music Program Director, has had the privilege of reaching motivated choral musicians as an artistic, educational & administrative leader throughout her career. She is a sought-after choral music educator and is the Director of Education & Outreach for the Cincinnati Boychoir, as well as the Managing Artistic Director of the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective of Cincinnati (yp/CC), and the Associate Musician for Children & Youth at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati.

KellyAnn has served as guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and presenter at various National, All-State and Regional honors choir events, conferences and choral/vocal jazz workshops in Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina, Connecticut, Minnesota, Kentucky and Indiana. She most recently presented in June 2012 at the national Chorus America conference in Minneapolis on the topic of incorporating music literacy activities into the choral rehearsal, as well as at the World Choir Games on “Young Professional Engagement in Choral Music”. yp/CC was also the subject of a Chorus America feature article in May 2012 about innovation and engagement, as well as part of KellyAnn’s TedxCincinnati Talk on the topic of transforming communities through participation in music.

Ms. Nelson has been conducting, managing and teaching young choral musicians in diverse venues for over a decade. She served as Associate Conductor of both the Cincinnati Children’s Choir and the Princeton (NJ) Girlchoir, as well as directing Linton Music’s Children’s Music Series Peanut Butter & Jam Sessions, Western Michigan University’s Gold Company II vocal jazz ensemble, and has been at the helm of school choral music programs in Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio. She spends her summers teaching and conducting at summer programs such as Hotchkiss Summer Portals, Interlochen Arts Camp, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Westminster Choir College Vocal Institute, Cincinnati Boychoir’s SongFest, and Christ Church Cathedral’s Summer Choir Camp. While pursuing her doctoral degree in Choral Conducting and Arts Administration at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), KellyAnn taught in the music education department and was the assistant conductor of the Women’s Chorus. She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in music education from Western Michigan University.

Her most recent endeavor, the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective (yp/CC) allows KellyAnn the opportunity to work with over 170 motivated singers, aged 21-45, who work and live throughout the greater Cincinnati area. The choir (founded in November 2011) reconnects singers to the music education they received in school, and successfully engages with new audiences, partners with local businesses, presents quality performances in unique spaces, and celebrates the choral music history, growth, and energy of the city (Cincinnati) and neighborhood (Over-the-Rhine) in which she and her husband, Christopher Eanes, live.

Christopher Eanes

Vocal Program Associate Conductor

Christopher Eanes is a conductor and teacher living and working in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is the Managing Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Boychoir, the Artistic Director of Collegium Cincinnati, and the co-founder (with his wife, KellyAnn Nelson) of the Professionals’ Choral Collective.

An avid collaborator, Chris has presented concerts in conjunction with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Taft Museum of Art, the Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Chris’ work with the Cincinnati Boychoir was featured in Chorus America’s Spotlight On Innovation (The Voice, Fall 2009) and the Cincinnati Enquirer (April 30 & December 10, 2010; July 11, 2012). An appearance with the Cincinnati May Festival in 2010 prompted Music Director James Conlon to write, “The Cincinnati Boychoir, under the direction of Christopher Eanes, is an outstanding cultural asset to Cincinnati’s rich musical life.”

Before moving to Cincinnati, Chris was an active musician in Los Angeles while pursuing his doctorate at the University of Southern California; between 2006 and 2009 he served as artistic director of the Chamber Opera of USC, chorus master and assistant conductor of the USC Thornton Opera, and as the conductor of the USC Thornton Apollo Men’s Choir. Since 2005, Chris has spent his summers teaching chamber music to gifted high school musicians at the Hotchkiss Summer Portals program in Lakeville, CT. He has edited several of the works of Baldassare Galuppi, two of which will appear in print in 2013 from Tropp Music Publications.

Recent performances include an appearance on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in March 2011, Handel’s Messiah in December 2011 with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra (one of the only performances in the United States to use a choir of boys and men), and an appearance with the Cincinnati May Festival in May 2012 (Orff’s Carmina Burana). 2012-2013 projects include Britten’s Saint Nicolas (Cincinnati Boychoir & Collegium Cincinnati), and an appearance as guest conductor of the 24-voice professional Vocal Arts Ensemble for their annual holiday concert “A Candlelit Christmas.”

Thomas Jones

Visiting Vocal Artist

Baritone Thomas Jones has had a performance career spanning more than three decades and continues to appear with orchestras, opera companies, choral ensembles, pops concerts and on recital series throughout North America, Europe and the West Indies. Critics from coast to coast have hailed his performances as elegant, passionate, expressive and sensitive. Richard Buell of The Boston Globe calls the vocal and stage presence of Thomas Jones “irresistible.” Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times proclaims that Mr. Jones sings “with plush sounds and musical vigor.”

Mr. Jones’ solo appearances include The Santa Fe Symphony, The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, New York’s Dessoff Choirs and the Arcadia Chamber Orchestra, Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society, The Apollo Chorus of Chicago, The San Francisco City Chorus and Orchestra, The Vancouver Chamber Choir and The Canadian Broadcast Orchestra, The Phoenix Bach Choir, The Phoenix Chamber Orchestra, New York’s St. Cecilia Orchestra, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, The Omaha Symphony, The Pacific Chorale and The Pacific Symphony in Southern California, The Battle Creek Symphony (Michigan), The Billings Symphony (Montana),The Louisville Bach Society at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, The Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra of Washington, DC, The Simon Sinfonietta of Washington, DC., The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic Orchestra, The Bucks County Choral Society and The Philadelphia Festive Arts Orchestra under conductor Robert Page. Thomas Jones has sung on recital series coast to coast in the USA and in the cities of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen among others.

Festival appearances include Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Berkshire Choral Festival, The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, Great Waters Music Festival, The Hotchkiss Portals Series and Monadnock Music. Opera companies include Boston Lyric Opera, The Harrisburg Opera Company of Pennsylvania and Opera New England. In metropolitan Boston, appearances include The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Boston Civic Orchestra, The Back Bay Chorale, Coro Allegro, The Cape Cod Symphony, The Worcester Symphony, The Nashua Symphony, The Providence Singers, Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Series, Nantucket Arts, New England Classical Singers, The Monadnock Chorus and The Masterworks Chorale.

Mr. Jones has soloed with well over 150 choruses throughout The USA, appearing under the baton of notable maestros such as Christopher Hogwood, Nicholas McGegan, Roger Norrington, Thomas Dunn, John Alexander, Jon Washburn, Daniel Beckwith, Joel Revzen, Robert Page, Jung-Ho Pak, John Oliver, William Gray, Stephen Simon, Tom Hall and Gerald Mack. And, he has premiered new works by composers such as Libby Larson, Dave Brubeck, John Goodman and others. In theater, Mr. Jones has performed roles with many companies ... summer stock and others. Contemporary pops concerts have recently been an added dimension to his 25 year career. Those series feature music from the American Songbook and a vast array of musical theater composers. Recordings include Handel “Messiah” for National Public Radio and Handel “Samson” with the Canadian Broadcast Orchestra and the Vancouver Chamber Choir.

Thomas Jones was a semifinalist in the International Bel Canto Foundation Vocal Competition and a semifinalist in the New York Oratorio Competition. His theater experiences range from summer stock companies in multiple roles from Gershwin to Sondheim. In addition, Mr. Jones is an accomplished voice teacher and choral clinician, having conducted vocal master classes and choral clinics throughout the United States at colleges, high schools and for community, church and professional choruses. He has adjudicated at dozens of solo competitions and choral festivals throughout the country. Thomas Jones has been teaching voice through the Office for the Arts at Harvard University for 22 years. He also served as vocal coach for Harvard University’s “Hasty Pudding Theatricals” for 10 years and is the voice clinician for the Harvard Freshman Arts Program. Mr. Jones also serves as Minister of Music at Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Harvard Square.

Sabrina Learman

Visiting Vocal Artist

Sabrina Learman began her training in acting while spending summers in San Francisco, attending the American Conservatory and Attic Theaters. During her high school years, a fascination with the art of singing took over, leading to degrees in vocal performance from the Eastman School of Music and New England Conservatory. Having taught voice for more than 20 years, Sabrina’s enormous passion is undeniable. Her students have been heard and seen on Broadway and international tours; they have been accepted to the most prestigious, intensive conservatory and summer programs in opera and musical theatre, both nationally and abroad; and they have taken prizes in a myriad of local and national competitions. Sabrina is on the voice faculty of Emerson College’s BFA Musical Theatre program, as well as New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School, where she is spearheading and teaching their first ever musical theatre classes for teens. She also runs a private studio. Sabrina has given master classes in performance and audition techniques at many colleges and music programs. Summer teaching/vocal directing includes Emerson College, Newton Summer Theatre, Fusion Arts Exchange, Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Chamber program, New York State Summer School for the Arts, and Creative Arts at Park. (Former faculty posts: Entrepreneurial Musicianship, New England Conservatory; University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth; Brookline Music School). Sabrina has enjoyed a career as a soloist with countless New England area chamber groups, choruses and orchestras—touring, championing new works and collaborating with composers. She was a founding member of Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston for over 12 years. For 18 years, she has performed with the prestigious Boston Baroque chorus, with whom she has also recorded and been a soloist. Sabrina has performed live on WGBH Radio several times and has recorded for Albany Records, the Discovery Channel, Cakewood Records, and the Zamir Chorale. Sabrina is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.





Spotlight Award Scholarships

February 2014

Dear Spotlight Award Entrants,

The Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Program is pleased to announce the eighth year of a partnership with the Spotlight Awards Program. Like the Spotlight Awards, the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal program strives to identify highly talented young musicians. Hotchkiss brings together sixteen classical singers (ages 15-18) for three weeks of intensive training and performance. Our musicians come from all over the world—the United States, China, Australia, Europe and Israel—to meet at the beautiful campus of The Hotchkiss School, a boarding school in Northwest Connecticut.

Given the high caliber of the musicians who participate in the Spotlight Awards program, we will be inviting top musicians from among this year’s Spotlight Classical Vocal division to apply for the 2014 Hotchkiss Summer Portals program, June 22 – July 13. While scholarships are limited, all vocalists are eligible by application.

In its tenth year, the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Program has already established itself as a major summer music program for young musicians. Vocalists rehearse intensively, attend coachings and masterclasses with the resident faculty and guest musicians, and perform both in chamber ensembles and as a chamber choir. Led by Dr. Pamela Mindell, students in the vocal program have worked with guest conductors such as David Hayes of the Philadelphia Singers and Marguerite Brooks, head of the choral conducting department at Yale University, and Simon Carrington, a founding member of the King’s Singers.

If you are a singer interested in applying for a Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal scholarship, we would encourage you to apply as early as possible in 2014. If you submit an application, please indicate that you are competing in the Spotlight Awards competition, so that we can flag it.

Portals is tremendously excited about this partnership between the West Coast and the East Coast, and particularly pleased to be associated with a program as innovative and significant as the Spotlight Awards. Best of luck in your preparation for the competition!

Christopher Shepard
Music Director
Hotchkiss Summer Portals

For more information about the Spotlight Awards, please visit their website.




Stephen McKibben
Dean of Summer Programs

Christiana Gurney Rawlings
Director of Admission and Residential Life

Phone:   (860) 435-3173
Fax:   (860) 435-4413

Summer Portals
The Hotchkiss School
11 Interlaken Road
Lakeville, CT 06039