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About SongShop

Awarded Special Recognition by the Chicago Cabaret Professionals in 2017, SongShop is an ongoing workshop in the art of song interpretation. Using a toolkit of musical and theatrical techniques, SongShop enhances a singer's ability to communicate character, emotion and story in song, to make each song their own, and in the process, open up with greater vulnerability and intimacy to their audience. In an environment that nurtures risk-taking and confidence, everyone gets personal; everyone gets better.

Whether in weekly sessions in Chicago, monthly sessions in Detroit or annual sessions in Paris, Claudia Hommel's SongShop welcomes the gamut of singers—young and old, novice and professional—to bring the intimacy of cabaret to any genre of song: jazz, musical theatre, American Songbook, opera, art song, folk, rock, and pop.

In Chicago, the Community Music Division of DePaul University School of Music has been home since 2003. Claudia is supported there by fellow coaches and pianists including Bob Moreen, Bobby Schiff, Elizabeth Doyle, Mark Burnell, Phil Caldwell, Philip Seward, and Wydetta Carter. In our mnthly sessions in Metro Detroit, we work principally with Marty Mandelbaum at the piano.

Claudia approaches each participant with insights and energy that come from her studies in New York with the acclaimed Martha Schlamme, actor/director Alvin Epstein, music director Steve Blier, Roberta Vatske (who also taught Julie Wilson), Art Song sessions with Dalton Baldwin, and various workshops for Shakespeare, the Meisner technique, dance and physical movement.

We work on a foundation of musicality and musicianship, to which we add the strength of intention, truth-telling, and the strong desire to communicate to others. While vocal quality and range are important, in this workshop presence and purpose are more so. This allows singers of every level to become masters in enrapturing their audience. We create an environment of respect, a place to nurture confidence and risk-taking.

Attending SongShop sessions over time allows participants to fine-tune, deepen and address more aspects of the performance process. Each time we return to a song we recognize new challenges and insights, allowing our work to evolve as the world continues to change around us.

Our work culminates regularly in group and salon concerts. The best way to test and prod the work is to put it in front of a broader audience. True,many audience members come the first time to hear a friend sing, but they come back to rejoice in a SongShop Live experience!

The Mission of SongShop

SongShop is an on-going collective process, committed to truth-telling through song. SongShop expands the performers' expressive capabilities using theatrical exploration of character, emotion and story. SongShop creates a workshop environment to nurture risk-taking and confidence, with each member serving as performer, guide and audience.

At whatever level of experience, singers strengthen the connection to their song and in turn open themselves with greater vulnerability and intimacy to their audience. This openness and truth is the heart of transformation, both for artist and audience. Everyone gets better.