For several years now, the opera and musical theater program located in Schroon Lake has struggled to reconcile part of its brand, namely the word ‘colony’, with what it does and how it functions in the greater field of classical music. To better reflect the nature of its business model, the former Seagle Music Colony will now be known as Seagle festival.
History and context:
In 1915, internationally famous concert singer and vocal teacher Oscar Seagle created a summer retreat in the Adirondacks for the express purpose of teaching vocal students. As was typical of the times, artist retreats were often called colonies – hence Seagle Colony began. In the early years it truly was an artist colony, where students worked on their singing but performed little for the public, barring an occasional recital or concert. Limited public performances of operas and scenes started in the 1930s at the Peabody Estate on Diamond Point Road in Lake George.
After Oscar died in 1946, his son John, a well-known singer and teacher himself, took over the program. He added a theater to the campus and increasingly frequent public performances happened in Schroon Lake. In 1995, operation of the program was transitioned to a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. The company’s mission statement has changed over time to not only embrace vocal teaching, but include public performances to bolster this training. Recently, fall workshops and summer performances of new works of musical theater have further broadened the program’s offerings.
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