Ms. Sharon Christman, head of Vocal Performance (

Undergraduate Production (Crew) Requirements for All Undergraduate Vocal Performance Majors:

Student participation in production crews is required for two reasons.  First, because we believe every student should have working knowledge of basic elements of technical theatre- of stage machinery, backstage operations, set construction, costume construction, lighting, sound or properties. Crew work in any of these areas is an important learning opportunity for you, and a necessary part of your training; therefore, we require crew credits just as we require certain courses.

Second, crews provide the necessary support for the School’s productions, from which every student benefits, whether his or her interest is in performing, teaching, or the technical end of theatre. Without crews, there would be no production at all.

All undergraduate Drama, Musical Theatre, and Vocal Performance students must complete 240 crew hours of production work in order graduate*.  This number of hours insures a profitable learning experience and helps generally support the productions goals of our department. Per show you crew, you complete approximately 60 hours of work by working on approved running crew, by working in the scene or costume shops, or by assisting in the presentation of concerts and school produced events.  Stage Managing and Assistant Stage Managing crew constitutes approximately double the time of usual crew, and roughly equals 120 hours. Other positions, such as front of house operations, assistant musical director, assistant director, assistant choreographer, or dramaturg do not count for crew credit.

All crewmembers are expected for strike. No exceptions.  Failure to be at strike will result in loss of the crew hours earned for that production.

The student must sign up for each crew. It is the student’s responsibility to sign up for a crew just as one registers for classes. To inquire about crew positions, please reach out to the Production Manager expressing interest.  A student may request a specific crew position, although positions will be filled as deemed appropriate by the Production Staff.  If crew positions have not been filled, a student may be assigned by either the Production Manager or supervising faculty member. Crew assignments are finalized by the Production Manager.

After a student has been assigned to work a crew, the student will be contacted by the Production Manager to verify the commitment on that production. The student will verify by signing a contract for that Production as produced by the Production Manager.  Once the student has signed, he/she is required to work on that production and to be available for ALL calls listed on the production schedule. If at any time a student cannot fulfill their obligation, they are responsible for finding a replacement before the start of the contract begins. Failure to do so will result in the requirement of additional crew hours for the student.  Extenuating circumstance and personal hardships will be evaluated by the Production Manager in consultation with the faculty and staff on a case-by-case basis.

Priority will be given …
   1. to students in their final two semesters who are in need of crew credits;
   2. to those needing the hours to keep pace with 60 hours per year;
   3. in the order that students sign up for crew work.    

All hours will be tracked by the supervising crew chief, Shop Manager, Stage Manager, or Production Manager.

Upon the completion of a crew contract, the contract will be placed in the student’s academic file by the Production Manager, confirming the completion of assigned crew hours. 

A student will not receive credit if they fail to show up for work or does not perform satisfactorily on a crew as evaluated by the faculty member, Production or Stage Managers. Students should fulfill at least one crew position each academic year to avoid over-booking oneself.  When the student is consulting with his/her adviser for registration of courses, the student must check with the adviser to assure that the necessary documentation from the previous year’s production credit is in the file.

Undergraduates are required to complete one crew assignment (of at least 60 hours) for each year they are in this department (for a total of 240 hours). Transfer students must complete one crew assignment (of at least 60 hours) for each year they are enrolled at The Catholic University of America. Similarly, undergraduates who switch from another major at into the Drama or Music departments that require crew credits, must complete one crew assignment (of at least 60 hours) for each year (or partial year) as a drama major.


Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy

All masters students must take a jury exam end of each semester:

  • 1 Italian aria or art song by an Italian composer
  • 1 English aria or art song by an American or British composer
  • 1 German aria or art song
  • 1 French aria or art song
  • 2 Classical art songs in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Latin or another language approved by the applied teacher.

The student should not present more than two arias for one jury.


Master’s Degree Recital

The master’s degree recital should include approximately 70 minute of music and should include Italian, German, French and English art songs.  There should be a limit of two arias.  There may be language exceptions or inclusions with the approval of the applied teacher and the voice committee.

All recitals with the exception of the DMA recitals, must be approved by the voice committee in a recital jury.  The jury should occur at least two weeks prior to the recital.


Open Studio

The Vocal Division faculty members endeavor to teach as a team, interested ultimately in the progress of the individual student.  Open Studio is a policy whereby a junior, senior, or graduate voice major may take one extra voice lesson per semester with a faculty member other than his/her assigned teacher.  The chair of the Vocal Division must be informed prior to the lesson.  When a student is not satisfied with his progress in his applied lessons and wishes to study with another faculty member, he/she is obligated to first discuss the situation with the chair of the Vocal Division.  Change is possible, but must be approached with careful consideration.



Each vocal performance major is expected to audition for all opera productions. Whenever possible, roles are double or even triple cast to afford as many students stage performance as possible.